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Kona Family Fun Day Celebrated

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council (BISAC) hosted one of its annual events in Kona.  The Kona Family Fun Day, was an event which celebrated community, promoted positive messages, and provided opportunities to enhance family relationships.  Over 15 community organizations participated in providing the community with resources and family-fun activities.  In true style, BISAC had carnival games, bouncers, giveaways, family activities, an arm wrestling exhibition, and lots of good tasting food.  Hundreds of individuals took part in the event.

BISAC through its events and long standing positive reputation in the community continues to inspire positive change and helps individuals and their families reclaim their lives.  The Kona Family Fun Day was made possible by Hawaii County Council members: Karen Eoff, Maile David, and Dru Kanuha.  “This event was very successful and we will continue to provide these types of outreach events in the future” said BISAC’s CEO, Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita.  “Our next annual event, Summer Jam is scheduled for July 28-29th and we hope to see you all there.”

Since 1964, BISAC has been inspiring individuals and families to reclaim and enrich their lives in the wake of the ravages of substance abuse and mental health.  They offer a continuum of services that are culturally appropriate and aligned with the ever-changing behavioral health field.

For more information about BISAC and all of its programs call 969-9994 or visit www.bisac.org.

Hawaii Supreme Court Special Session in Honor of the Late James S. Burns

The Hawaiʻi Supreme Court will convene in special session to honor the late James S. Burns, former Chief Judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals, on:

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
4:00 p.m.
Supreme Court Courtroom
Aliʻiolani Hale, Second Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi  96813

Chief Judge James Burns

The special session is anticipated to last approximately one hour, and will include remarks from representatives of the Judiciary and the legal community.

This event is open to the public.

Coast Guard Establishes Temporary Safety Zone in Vicinity of Active Kilauea Lava Flow

The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone for the navigable waters surrounding the Kilauea Volcano active lava flow entry into the Pacific Ocean on the southeast side of the Big Island, Hawai’i, Tuesday.

The temporary safety zone will encompass all waters extending 300 meters (984 feet) in all directions around the entry of the lava flow into the ocean from noon March 28 to 8 a.m. Sept. 28.  Experts from the U.S. Geological Survey recommend 300 meters as the minimum safe distance to avoid hazards from the lava flow.

The Coast Guard has taken action to ensure public safety because of the danger the unstable sea cliff, volcanic shrapnel, toxic gases and potential bench collapses pose to vessel traffic and the public. As long as lava enters the ocean, further sea cliff degradation, hazardous conditions, delta construction and collapse are likely to occur.  These collapses occur with little to no warning and cannot be predicted.

According to the HVO, large and dense fragments ejected during delta collapses can be thrown in all directions from the point of collapse, including out to sea.  Based on a review of nearly 30 years of delta collapse and ejecta distance observations in HVO records, a radius of 300 meters was determined as a reasonable minimum high hazard zone around a point of ocean entry.

A Broadcast Notice to Mariners has been issued via VHF-FM marine channel 16 about the safety zone. Entry of vessels or people into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port Honolulu or his designated representative.

To view documents in the Federal Register mentioned in this release, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2017-0172 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.”  Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule. It may take up to five days for documents to publish in the Federal Register, once published public comments may be submitted for a period of 60 days.

The Coast Guard is also issuing a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to establish a permanent Safety Zone for this region. We solicit feedback from the public on this rule making process. You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2017-0234 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.

Written Comments: Written public comments will be accepted on or before 11:59 p.m. June 3, 2017, via http://www.regulations.gov. The Coast Guard strongly prefers comments to be submitted electronically; however, written comments may also be submitted (e.g. postmarked) by the deadline, via mail to Commander (spw), U.S. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, 433 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96850.

Oral Comments: The Coast Guard will provide the public an opportunity to make oral comments by holding a public meeting on May 08, 2017, at 5 p.m. at the East Hawaii County Building (Hilo) Aupuni Center Conference Room located at 101 Pauahi St. #7, Hilo, Hawaii 96720.

20-Year-Old Woman Dies Following Two-Vehicle Crash on Highway 270

A 20-year-old Paʻauilo woman died following a two-vehicle crash Monday night (March 27) on Highway 270 just South of the 13 mile marker.

Makaylyn Kalani

She was identified as Makaylyn Kalani.

Responding to a 8:40 p.m. call Monday evening, police determined that a 2008 Honda four-door sedan operated by Kalani had been traveling North on Highway 270 near the 13 mile marker when it crossed left of center of the roadway and collided head on with a 2009 Toyota pickup truck that was traveling south.

The occupants of the Toyota, a 24-year-old man and a 19-year-old women, both of Kohala, were taken to the North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital for treatment of their injuries.

Kalani was taken to the Kona Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 1:23 a.m. Tuesday (March 28).

Police believe speed and inattention were factors in the crash.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and is asking for anyone who may have witnessed the accident to contact Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison at 326-4646, ext. 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo.

This is the 7th traffic fatality this year compared to five at this time last year.

Annual Waimea College Fair – April 6th

Hawaii Preparatory Academy will host the annual Waimea College Fair sponsored by the Hawaii Association for College Admission Counseling from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 6, in the schoolʻs Castle Gym.  The event is free and is designed for all Waimea area students interested in pursuing higher education opportunities.

This yearʻs program will feature 80 colleges, including all colleges and universities within the state of Hawaii.  Other colleges represented include:

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Dartmouth College
  • Santa Clara University
  • Gonzaga University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of California, Irvine
  • Colorado State University
  • Northeastern University
  • University of Oregon
  • West Point

A general advising and financial aid center will be available to students and their families to answer specific questions regarding the college admission process and financial aid.

For more information, please visit the Hawaii Association for College Admission Counseling website at www.hawaiiacac.org, or email HawaiiACAC@gmail.com.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Announces Hawaiʻi Students Nominated to Military Service Academies

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today released the names and photos of her nominations to the U.S. Military Service Academies for classes entering Summer 2017.  After an exhaustive application and interview process, she nominated twenty-two students from across Hawaii’s Second Congressional District. Their applications are now being considered for final selection by the United States Military Academy at West Point, the United States Naval Academy, and the United States Air Force Academy.

“Across Hawaiʻi, high school seniors will soon begin gearing up for graduation, summer plans, and either beginning college, serving in our military, or entering the work force. A select few will be enrolling in one of the U.S. Military Service Academies, and I’ve had the privilege and great responsibility of nominating twenty-two phenomenal applicants to represent our Aloha State in service to our country.  I wish each of these nominees the very best in the final weeks of the selection process and in their promising futures,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

The nomination application period opens May 15th of each year for candidates who are high school juniors and will be seniors the following school year, or who have already graduated. Nomination does not guarantee an appointment. The honor of attending a Military Service Academy comes with the obligation and commitment to serve in the military for a minimum of five years upon graduation. More information about the nominations process is available here.  

The following students from Hawaii’s Second Congressional District were nominated by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard to the corresponding military academy / academies below (photo available for download by clicking the nominee’s name).

HAWAIʻI ISLAND RESIDENTS

KAUAʻI RESIDENTS

MAUI RESIDENTS

OʻAHU RESIDENTS

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Commits Funds to Protect Hawaiian Coot and Hawaiian Stilt

The Department of the Interior announced that through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Cooperative Recovery Initiative (CRI) more than $3.74 million is being committed to nine projects on 12 national wildlife refuges across 12 states to help recover some of the nation’s most at-risk species on or near national wildlife refuges.

Hawaiian Coot (Photo by Dick Daniels http://carolinabirds.org/)

“We are targeting our work where it will do the most good for America’s resources,” said FWS Acting Director Jim Kurth. “This initiative is a unique way to engage in conservation work with states and partners, giving the taxpayer a good return on investment.”

Species to benefit from CRI funding include the Miami blue butterfly, ocelots, Puritan tiger beetles, masked bobwhite and spectacled eiders.

Since 2013, FWS has funded 66 projects for nearly $27 million through the CRI. Other species that have benefited include the Oregon chub, the first fish in the nation to be taken off the endangered species list; Sonoran pronghorn; dusky gopher frog; and red-cockaded woodpecker. These projects often provide conservation benefits to other imperiled species and encourage partnerships with states and private groups.

Project Details:

Hawaiian Stilt

Pacific Region
Protect Two Endangered Hawaiian Waterbirds and Core Wetland Habitats at Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

A project team will establish long-lasting protections for two endangered birds, the Hawaiian coot and Hawaiian stilt, against predators and ungulates and create new habitat, resulting in a large-scale restoration of Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, a critically important wetland habitat in Hawaii.

Enhance the Conservation Status of Spalding’s Catchfly
A project team will establish five additional viable subpopulations of 500 individual threatened Spalding’s catchfly on protected habitat at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge in Washington and three other partner and privately-owned locations within the Channeled Scablands and Palouse Prairie regions in Washington and Idaho.

Southwest Region
Protect Endangered Species Corridors in the Rio Grande Valley

Staff at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Texas will work with partners to acquire a 400-acre conservation easement to expand habitat between the refuge and Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge for the endangered ocelot. The increased habitat will also aid the endangered northern aplomado falcon.

Establish Second Captive Breeding Population of Masked Bobwhite Quail in North America
A project team will expand the endangered masked bobwhite population by creating a captive population in a rearing facility at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona and establish a second captive population and biosecurity program at Sutton Avian Research Center.

Southeast Region
Protect and Enhance Watercress Darter Habitat at Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge

A project team will maintain the current pool habitats on Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama for the endangered watercress darter to improve migration and genetic diversity, promote additional aquatic habitats on the refuge, and monitor restored and developed habitats. They will also remove a failing water control structure, promote connectivity for fish passage between pools, and enhance habitats downstream or adjacent to the pools.

Habitat Restoration through Prescribed Fire at Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge for 11 Listed Plant Species and the Florida Scrub Jay
A project team will restore fire-suppressed scrub and sandhill habitat to enhance populations of 11 listed plant species and the endangered Florida scrub jay at Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. In particular, the staff will augment the only protected population of endangered Garrett’s mint through seed collection and strategic dispersal, which will significantly increase the population.

Restore Populations of the Critically Endangered Miami Blue Butterfly
A project team will establish new viable populations of the endangered Miami blue butterfly over a much larger geographic range in south Florida, including on National Key Deer Refuge, Great Heron National Wildlife Refuge, and local state parks.

Northeast Region
Puritan Tiger Beetle Habitat Enhancement and Population Stabilization in the Connecticut River Watershed

Two new viable subpopulations of the threatened Puritan tiger beetle will be established by a project team from Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge on state-owned lands in New Hampshire and Vermont, within the Connecticut River watershed. The project will optimize a captive rearing protocol, enabling the beetle to be reared in the lab and translocated to protected habitat sites.

Alaska Region
Estimate Global Abundance and Evaluate Changes in At-Sea Distribution of Threatened Spectacled Eiders.

A project team will estimate the global population of threatened spectacled eiders as well as evaluate changes in distribution at marine molting, staging, and wintering areas, including in Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The team will also evaluate changes in non-breeding distribution of adult females captured on the refuge breeding area.

For more information on the 2017 projects and those in previous years, please visit: https://www.fws.gov/refuges/whm/cri/.

Nainoa Thompson Receives Explorers Club Medal, the Most Prestigious Recognition in Exploration

Navigator and president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society Nainoa Thompson was honored this evening with the 2017 Explorers Club Medal, the most prestigious recognition in exploration. The award was presented to Thompson at the 113th Explorers Club Annual Dinner at Ellis Island in New York City.  The medal is awarded annually to select individuals for their extraordinary contributions directly in the field of exploration, scientific research, or to the welfare of humanity.

2017 Explorers Club Medal winner Nainoa Thompson with ocean explorer, Sylvia Earle.

Thompson was recognized for his historic work to revive and perpetuate Polynesian wayfinding and for leading the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage as captain and navigator of iconic sailing canoe Hokulea. Thompson has dedicated his life to teaching the art and values of wayfinding to generations of navigators throughout Polynesia and from across the globe. He was the first Native Hawaiian to practice long-distance wayfinding since the 14th century and consequently inspired a voyaging renaissance throughout the Pacific.

Today, Hokulea is completing the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, a journey to inspire communities to care for themselves, each other, and their natural and cultural environments for a more sustainable future. To date, Hokulea has sailed over 31,000 nautical miles around the world.

Hokulea is currently on her way to the Marquesas Islands. The canoe’s last stop will be in Tahiti where she will meet up with her sister canoe, Hikianalia and sail back to Hawaii together on the final leg of the Worldwide Voyage.

The Explorers Club also honored Hokulea at a special Presidential Dinner in June 2016 on World Oceans Day.

In addition to Thompson, Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, M.D. received the Explorers Club Medal for Solar Impulse, a solar powered airplane circumnavigation project that has raised public awareness and encouraged political actions in favor of clean technologies and energy efficiency around the world. The event was hosted by two-time Academy Award winning actor, Robert DeNiro, who introduced a congratulatory video from past Explorers Club Medal recipient, award-winning filmmaker, and fellow Ocean Elder, James Cameron. Cameron’s video discussed the importance of education, conservation, and oceans exploration, lauding the night’s awardees for their landmark endeavors and environmental stewardship.

Founded in 1904 in New York City, The Explorers Club is an international multidisciplinary professional society dedicated to the advancement of field research and the ideal that it is vital to preserve the instinct to explore. The Club serves as a meeting point and unifying force for explorers and scientists worldwide, promoting the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space by supporting research and education in the physical, natural and biological sciences. An illustrious series of first explorations are credited to members of the Club, including the first visit to the North Pole, first to the South Pole, first to the summit of Mount Everest, first to the deepest point in the ocean and first to the surface of the moon.

The Explorers Club Medal is the Club’s highest honor. Past recipients of the Explorers Club Medal include James Cameron, for his outstanding contributions to ocean science; Walter H. Munk, for his extraordinary oceanography achievements that span his 75-year career; and Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ph.D., for his significant contributions to the welfare of humanity through science and education.

For information on the Explorers Club Awards and other 2017 recipients, please click here.

Sen. Kahele & Rep. Todd Urge County of Hawaii to Reconsider Terminating East Hawaii Organics Facility Contract

We write to express our sincere concern regarding the County of Hawaii’s recent decision to terminate the East Hawaii Organics Facility Contract.

As you are well aware, the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill has a remaining usable life of one to three years and the County has worked hard to find a solution to this problem.  The proposed composting facility is the perfect antidote to this issue and will provide multiple benefits to our community, such as diverting 54% of our County’s organic waste, providing nutrient rich compost to our vital agricultural industry, eliminating invasive species through enhanced mulching aw well as promoting a renewed sense of self sustainability and recycling education on our Island.

The project would work with all Department of Education schools on our island by directing all food waste, paper, compostable dishes, and plastics to the landfill at $21.25 per ton, $63.75 less than what it currently cost.  It would also enable us to educate and instill in our State’s next generation the value of composting, sustainability, and what it truly means to reduce, reuse, and recycle.  This project can be a model for the rest of the State and we have no doubt would be implemented statewide in a few years.  We envision every Island; one day will have its own organic composting facility.

In addition there are potentially several new initiatives to stimulate the agriculture industry on our Island and part of these initiatives require the availability of nutrient rich compost to encourage farming and growing our own food among local farmers and private residents.  The proposed composting facility will produce 40 tons of organic, naturally rich compost once fully operational and this can have a major impact on the agriculture and horticulture industry on Hawai’i Island as well as future farming sustainability initiatives.

The proposed composting facility will also directly address our Islands invasive species epidemic by converting green waste and untreated wood pallets to enhanced mulch and heating it to a specific temperature that will eliminate all known invasive species to include: rapid ohia death, little red fire ants, coqui frogs, coconut rhinoceros beetle, coffee berry borer and the banana bunchy top virus.  Although this process is already occurring at the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill, the enhanced mulch from the composting facility would be of better quality and a product that would be safe for our farmers and community.  This enhanced mulch, in high demand in East Hawai’i, would continue to be distributed at no cost and would substantially decrease the mulch currently imported from the U.S. Mainland.

We also understand the concerns of our neighbors in Pana’ewa and Keaukaha and the proposed sites proximity to the Department of Hawaiian Homes Land agricultural farm lots.  These concerns must be addressed and there are alternate sites in East Hawai’i that the proposed project could be relocated to.  We are willing to work with the County to locate an alternative site on State land should the project be allowed to proceed.

Finally, we are concerned that the termination of this project, which was approved unanimously by the previous County Council that provided for the issuance of a $10.6 million bond, will send the negative message to private industry and investors that the County of Hawai’i does not honor its contractual obligations and decisions. Pending litigation to recover costs associated with the contract termination could amount to millions of dollars in legal fees that County taxpayers will have to shoulder.  This is clearly not in the County’s best interests.

In conclusion, we strongly urge the County of Hawai’i to reconsider terminating this critically important project.

Sincerely,

Hawai’i State Senator Kaiali’i Kahele and Hawai’i State Representative Chris Todd

Applications Sought for Hawaii Island Forestry Advisory Council Positions

The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, is now accepting applications for vacant seats on the Laupāhoehoe Advisory Council (LAC) and the Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Council (PAC) on Hawai‘i island. Both forest areas are part of the Hawaii Experimental Tropical Forest.  DOFAW works with the Forest Service to do research in these areas.

The councils meet quarterly.  Each consists of 14 members who serve a 2 to 3 year term, staggered within different categories of expertise, such as natural resources, recreation use, cultural knowledge, neighboring landowner, business/ecotourism, and grant writing expertise/coastal zone management.  All applicants should have an appropriate background in the vacant category area as well as an interest in representing community stakeholders related to their respective categories.

Individuals who are interested in serving on either the Laupāhoehoe or Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Councils may submit an application.

Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Council (PAC)

Interested applicants are being sought to fill one position in the following category: Hui ‘Ohana mai Pu‘u Anahulu a me Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a representative.

PAC members provide guidance to DLNR on management of 40,711 acres of state land in the North Kona ‘ahupua‘a of Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a. It includes grasslands and coastal ecosystems, including anchialine ponds, tropical dry and wet forests, a forest bird sanctuary and Kīholo State Park Reserve

Laupāhoehoe Advisory Council (LAC) 

Interested applicants are now being sought to represent these categories:  cultural resources, natural resource management, recreation, education, Laupāhoehoe community, Hawai‘i community at large, and scientific research. Laupāhoehoe Forest Reserve is on the windward side of Hawai‘i island and includes 12,300 acres of wet tropical forest in both forest reserve land as well as a natural area reserve.

LAC members help provide guidance to DLNR and the USDA Forest Service on issues related to management, research, education and public access in the Hawai‘i Experimental Tropical Forest and state lands in the Hamakua District (Laupāhoehoe Natural Area Reserve and Forest Reserve).

Continuous recruitment is also being sought year-round for each category of expertise (recommended submittal dates are by April 30, June 30, September 30 and December 30), and applications will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. Applications including submittal instructions can be found at http://www.hetf.us/page/home/.

Hard copy application forms are also available at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife office in Hilo at 19 E. Kawili St. in Hilo, and in Waimea at 66-1220A Lalamilo Road. Applications will be reviewed by the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the Hawai‘i Experimental Tropical Forest working group, and current members of the selected Advisory Council. Final selections are made by the DLNR chairperson.

For more information on either the Laupāhoehoe or Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Councils and the application process, contact the DOFAW Hawai‘i branch manager, Steve Bergfeld at (808) 974-4221.

Second Annual Hawaii Island Festival of Birds Announced

Program dates for the Second Annual Hawaii Island Festival of Birds have been announced as September 15 – 17, 2017 and will once again be headquartered at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

The Festival program will feature expert guest speakers Jeff Gordon, President of the American Birding Association, and Kenn Kaufman, renowned author, artist and conservationist along with a trade show for outdoor and birding equipment, children’s corner, bird-themed arts and crafts fair, photography and painting workshops, a birding film festival, and time to interact with Hawaii Island naturalists and bird experts. Guided field trips on land and sea will be included in the program offering.

Birdwatching! Photo by Lance Tanino

Festival participants will be able to take part in guided birdwatching field trips along the newly created Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail, and in guided boat trips departing from Honokohau Harbor to observe seabirds.  The 90-mile Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail is a cross-island link from Kona (on the west coast) to Hilo (on the east coast) that connects diverse habitats from ocean to mountain top, rainforest to lava plains.  The self-guided Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail, modeled after similar North American trails, follows a network of sites so users can take in all or any part of the route along the way. Locating and observing birds is, of course, the main event on the Trail, but discovering Hawaii Island’s unique plants and trees, geology, history and scenic view points are also emphasized.

Palila photo by Jack Jeffrey

New this year will be a birding-focused film festival on Friday (September 15) with documentaries about Hawaiian birds showing on Friday afternoon plus a feature film playing outdoors on Friday night.  Saturday’s workshops will include an expert talk from Brian Sullivan, project leader for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for eBird.org, and a panel discussion by naturalists and biologists of their last sightings of now extinct Hawaiian birds.

Photo by Jack Jeffrey

Saturday’s program options include a hands-on Photography Workshop and an Art Workshop with materials provided.  Saturday night’s Gala Dinner will be headlined by Kenn Kaufman speaking on the significance of Hawaii’s unique bird life. Detailed schedule of events is available at birdfesthawaii.org

New American Birding Association Recognition

Following last year’s inaugural Hawaii Island Festival of Birds, members of the American Birding Association voted overwhelming to add Hawaii to the ABA Area. For birders, this is huge as it has the potential to add substantially to the official ABA Area Checklist. There are at least 320 bird species documented in the Hawaiian Islands, of which 30 endemics remain. “There’s so much to learn about Hawaii’s native birds,” said Rob Pacheco, founder of Hawaii Forest & Trail and a member of the Festival’s organizing committee. “And we’re thrilled that Hawaii is now recognized as part of the ABA Area by the American Birding Association. We look forward to welcoming ABA’s members, and birding fans in general, to Hawaii and the Hawaii Island Festival of Birds.”

Sponsors of the Hawaii Island Festival of Birds include Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Hawaii, Hawaii Forest & Trail, Destination Marketing, Hawaii Wildlife Center and Alaska Airlines.

Department of Health Launches New “Prevent Diabetes Hawaii” Campaign

It is estimated that one in every two adults in Hawaii has prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, and many have not been diagnosed and may be unaware that they have it. To increase prevention and awareness, the Hawaii Department of Health is launching a new innovative media campaign on March 27 to encourage Hawaii adults to take an online Diabetes Risk Test at PreventDiabetesHawaii.com and share the results with their doctor or health care provider. Actor and comedian Frank De Lima, who has type 2 diabetes, is the spokesperson for the campaign and will appear in television ads and in print ads in malls across the state.

“Prediabetes is a serious health condition that puts people at risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, and the good news is you can reverse prediabetes with basic lifestyle changes,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “Type 2 diabetes can be prevented, so it’s very important for people to get screened early and take action.

Prediabetes refers to having a blood sugar that is above the normal level, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Without effective intervention, 15 to 30 percent of adults with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years. Native Hawaiians, Other Pacific Islanders, and Filipinos have the highest rates of type 2 diabetes, followed by Japanese. Furthermore, people of Asian descent tend to develop prediabetes at a lower body weight than other ethnicities, making them especially susceptible.

“Your risk for prediabetes is increased if you are overweight, 45 years or older, have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes, are not physically active, smoke, and ever had gestational diabetes,” said Lola Irvin, Administrator for the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division. “Obesity and diabetes are generally known as “twin” epidemics, and this is true also for Hawaii.”

The Prevent Diabetes Hawaii campaign asks everyone to participate in simple 30-second online Diabetes Risk Test and then email, print or download their Diabetes Risk Test results to a computer, smartphone, or tablet to facilitate a later conversation with a doctor or health care provider. The website also contains ideas and tips for individual lifestyle change, as well as information on nationally recognized lifestyle change programs that are available at local community health centers throughout the state, the YMCA, and some hospitals. A portal for health care providers contains links to download campaign materials for waiting rooms and doctors’ offices along with resources to facilitate patient follow-up, such as email templates and phone call scripts.

Focus group testing with adults on Oahu informed the campaign’s development. Prevent Diabetes Hawaii is funded by a combination of state general funds and a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more information about the campaign or to view the television and print ads, go to www.PreventDiabetesHawaii.com.

Hawaii Island Rotarians and Weinberg Work Day at YWCA

The YWCA of Hawaii Island was again the recipient of the labor of the Rotary Club of Hilo Bay as part of its Weinberg Friends Project. The labor earned a $10,000 grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation to aid survivors of sex assault.

David Herd and Paula Uusitalo painting lot lines.

More than twenty-five Rotarians perked up the YWCA of Hawaii Island Ululani campus February 26, 2017.  They cleaned, gardened, painted inside and out, scrubbed toys, power-washed exterior areas, and removed debris at 145 Ululani Street, which houses the YWCA preschool. “They put in a hundred people hours of work and everything looks great,” said Kathleen McGilvray, CEO of YWCA Hawaii Island.

Rotary Day president Kevin Hopkins

The Weinberg grant was awarded to the Big Island Coalition Against Physical and Sexual Assault (BICAPSA). BICAPSA will use the money to provide nursing assessments to children reported to be victims of child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, regardless of their ability to pay. “We are so pleased to partner with BICAPSA as we serve survivors of sex assault.  We expect over 300 abused children could need these services this year,” McGilvray said.

Sandy and Selina Custodio

As the YWCA Hawaii Island has been a recipient of Rotary Club of Hilo Bay’s Weinberg projects before, it was quickly able to respond to the Club’s request for a proposal.  “The end result proved the value of a bunch of strong business and community leaders working together on a service project,” said Kevin Hopkins, president of the Rotary Club of Hilo Bay. He invited non-profit agencies to go to www.hilobayrotary.com and learn more about previous projects and how to apply.

Grammy-Winning Honoka’a High Jazz Band Goes to Maui County

Meet them at the bridge of music on Maui and Lāna‘i  as they celebrate Aloha, Peace and National Jazz Appreciation Month

The Grammy-winning Honoka’a High School Jazz Band is performing on Maui and Lāna‘i  from March 30th to April 2nd in order to celebrate National Jazz Appreciation Month which culminates in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Jazz Day on April 30th.

The Honoka’a Jazz Band is a group of advanced music students who uphold a long tradition of excellence at Honoka’a High and Intermediate School. Under the direction of Gary Washburn, a dedicated teacher and accomplished jazz artist, the band is considered one of the state’s top High School Bands.  Honoka’a High School was one of 36 schools out of 22,000 eligible programs in the U.S. to receive the GRAMMY Signature Schools Award. Their Director, Gary Washburn has been recognized as a Living Treasure of Hawaii for his work as a music educator and has received a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction award.

This year, the theme of the Honoka’a Jazz Band’s Big City Tour Band is all about bridges as they become an ambassador of aloha bridging the Big Island of Hawaii to Maui and Lāna‘i  through music.

Besides the term “bridge” being a musical term referring to a section in music that provides a contrast to the verses in a song and the chorus, the music itself becomes a bridge that can be significant for the sharing of aloha and peace.

Gary Washburn notes that, “Music is a universal language and as such, opens doors between cultures and communities. Music does not involve words, only sound. Sound expresses emotion, particularly in Jazz where the freedom and spontaneity are the corner stones of the art. Jazz musicians have a “special connection” through a common “secret language” that celebrates peace and friendship. Their purpose is to create connections between the listeners by expressing common emotions” stated the band’s director.

The concept of the bridge is not only seen as music shared which will be connecting three islands on this tour, it connects the past and future in the life of the Honoka’a Band.  Nearly four decades ago, the then little known jazz band from the Hawaii Island went to Maui.

State of Hawaii House District 1 Representative Mark M. Nakashima recalls, “As a member of the Honoka’a High School Band, our first neighbor island trip was to Maui to march in the Maui County Fair Parade.  Mr. Washburn was in his second year as a band teacher at Honoka’a and this did a lot to revitalize and energize the music program.  This return to Maui seems like a bridge between the past and the future as Honoka’a marks a return to the Valley Isle once again after 38 years” said Nakashima.

Returning to Maui to extend a heart of friendship from Honoka’a, the band will be performing at the Maui Adult Day Care Nisei Ocean View Center on March 30th at 1p.m. and the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center on March 30th at 6p.m.

On Friday, March 30th, the band is excited to bridge over to Lāna‘i where they will do three appearances connected to the eleventh Fifth Friday Lāna‘i Town Party.  This is seen as a significant exchange according to Bradley Bunn, Chair of the Lāna‘i Chamber of Commerce, who wrote the following.  “We look forward to welcoming the Honoka‘a Jazz Band to Lāna‘i. More importantly we hope that lasting connections will be formed through their performances with our students and community.”   For more information on Fifth Friday see https://fifthfridayLāna‘i .com.

A highlight of their Maui Tour is the music bridge to agriculture.  On Saturday, April 1st, they perform twice at the 10th Annual Maui County Agricultural Festival held at the Maui Tropical Plantation.  They will be on the Main Stage at 11a.m. and the Keiki Stage at 2:15 p.m.  Warren K. Watanabe, Executive Director of the Maui County Farm Bureau welcomes the connection.

Our goal has always been to educate residents about the importance of a vibrant ag industry on Maui….In addition to providing beautiful landscapes, managed and productive ag lands are at the core of agritourism, festivals and entertainment, and Maui as a culinary destination. In short, a thriving agricultural community supports our culture, our community, our economy, and our health. We’re excited to bring people together at AgFest and honored to welcome the Honoka’a Jazz Band to perform on Maui” said, Watanabe.

The band’s final appearance on Maui will be at the Lahaina Arts Society Banyan Tree Fine Art Fair on April 2nd from noon to 2p.m. where they bridge music to the fine arts.

While the tour will be exciting, the most challenging bridge to cross for the band will be between the past 40 years of the Honoka’a music program with the beloved Linaka Washburn by her husband Gary’s side, and the first music tour without her.  Linaka loved bridges and made sure the 2017 Honoka’a Big City Tour would go on despite her fight with throat cancer.  Linaka passed this past January and in honor of her constant aloha and support, the Honoka’a Jazz Band’s 2017 tour is all about bridges.

Meet them at the bridge of music on Maui and Lāna‘i . The bridge has been built with such incredible aloha from the Office of Representative Mark Nakashima, Maui County Office of Economic Development, the Maui County Farm Bureau, Maui County Ag Festival, Lahaina Arts Society, Lāna‘i  Chamber of Commerce, Lāna‘i  Fifth Friday Committee, the Lāna‘i  Schools, Maui’s Adult Care Center, the University of Hawaii Maui Community College and even Queen Ka’ahumanu Mall.

For more information on National Jazz Appreciation Month which is celebrated every April see: http://americanhistory.si.edu/smithsonian-jazz/jazz-appreciation-month

For more information on the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Jazz Day 2017 see http://jazzday.com/about/

Oahu Highway and Road Closures Beginning Sunday, March 26, for a Television Production

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) advises Oahu motorists of closures on multiple roadways next week for a television production. See closure details below.

H-3 Freeway Sunday, March, 26, and Monday, March 27, from 4:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily

  • Closure of the H-3 Freeway in the Kaneohe-bound between the Halawa Interchange and the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base.
  • All onramps from the Halawa Interchange to the H-3 Freeway will be closed, including the Kamehameha Highway onramp in Kaneohe.
  • Alternate routes include the Likelike Highway and Pali Highway.

Kualakai Parkway – Tuesday, March 28, southbound from 7 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and northbound from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Closure of Kualakai Parkway in the southbound direction between Farrington Highway and Kapolei Parkway.
  • Closure of Kualakai Parkway in the northbound direction between Farrington Highway and the H-1 Freeway Overpass, including the Kualakai Parkway onramp to the eastbound H-1 Freeway. Motorists may enter the eastbound H-1 Freeway at the Makakilo Drive onramp or the Fort Weaver Road onramp.

H-1 Freeway – Tuesday, March 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Intermittent closures on the H-1 Freeway in the eastbound direction in the vicinity of the Kapolei/Ewa offramp (Exit 3). Special Duty Police Officers will hold traffic for approximately 1-2 minutes at a time and then will reopen all lanes. The lanes will remain open for the majority of the time during the closure hours.

Electronic message boards are posted to warn motorists of the closures. Emergency vehicles and first responders will be allowed through the closure zones.

HDOT encourages the public to plan their commute and check traffic apps to avoid congestion. Lane closures will be posted on our website at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/roadwork/oahu/  and released through our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.

Hawaii DLNR Accepting Proposals to Increase Water Security

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is accepting proposals for projects or programs submitted by public or private agencies or organizations to increase water security in the State of Hawaii.

Click to view

Act 172 Session Laws of Hawaii 2016 requires DLNR to establish a two-year pilot program for a Water Security Advisory Group (WSAG) to enable public-private partnerships that increase water security by providing one-for-one matching funds for projects or programs that:

  1. Increase the recharge of groundwater resources;
  2. Encourage the reuse of water and reduce the use of potable water for landscaping irrigation; and
  3. Improve the efficiency of potable and agricultural water use.

Public or private agencies or organizations are encouraged to submit proposals to the WSAG at the address provided in the Request for Proposals by Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) may be viewed or downloaded at:  http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/cwrm/planning/watersecurity/

The request for proposals may also be viewed or a hard copy picked up, at the Commission on Water Resource Management office located at 1151 Punchbowl Street, Kalanimoku Building Room 227 in Honolulu.

To request a copy of the RFP by mail, please send an email to admin@oneworldonewater.org

Hawaii Death With Dignity Bill Killed

The House Health Committee today deferred Senate Bill 1129, the medical aid in dying bill, effectively killing the measure for this session.

In announcing the decision, Rep. Della Au Belatti, Chair of the House Health Committee, said this was not the time to move the “aid in dying” bill forward.

“Our community is divided on this issue. Our job is to consider a full range of policy options and consequences, and base our decisions on data and evidence,” Belatti said. “We must balance the right to choose with protecting those who are most vulnerable. There must be a broader discussion about safeguards and oversight to this ‘aid in dying’ proposal.”

SB 1129 SD2 would establish a medical aid in dying act that establishes a regulatory process under which an adult resident of the State with a medically confirmed terminal disease may obtain a prescription for medication to be self-administered to end the patient’s life.

Dozens of community members on both sides of the issues testified before the committee.

Several committee members said there were problems with the details in Senate Bill 1129 and the issues needs more discussion and input from healthcare providers and government regulators.

Currently, six states have legalized aid in dying — Oregon, Washington, Colorado, California, Montana, and Vermont.

Lyft Launches Rideshare Company on Hawaii Island

Today Lyft, the fastest growing rideshare company in the U.S., is launching on Hawaii Island bringing its affordable, reliable rides to communities across the state’s largest island. The Hawaii Island launch is part of the company’s nationwide expansion to 25 new markets, which include Maui and Kauai. Lyft has been operating on Oahu since 2014.

In the last three months, Lyft has launched in more than 100 new cities. The ridesharing platform is now available in over 300 markets nationwide and continues to distinguish itself through its positive in-car experience, for both passengers and drivers.

To celebrate the arrival of Lyft, new passengers can use a special code LYFTLOVE17 to receive $5 off their first ride.

More than 700,000 drivers make their own flexible schedules and earn either a primary or supplemental income with Lyft. As the only rideshare platform to allow tips, Lyft drivers across the country have received more than $200 million in tips. Interested drivers can view the “Drive with Lyft” page to learn more about becoming part of the Lyft community.

How Lyft Works:

  1. Request: Whether you’re riding solo or with friends, you’ve got options. Just tap request and a driver’s there.
  2. Ride: After just a few taps in the Lyft app, a carefully-screened driver will be on the way to you — just set your pickup point.
  3. Pay: When the ride ends, just pay and rate your driver through your phone.

“Dear Republican Leaders” – Hawaii Representative Explains Why She Quits the Republican Party

Dear Republican Leaders,

Since becoming a member eight years ago, I’ve suggested our local party should reflect our uniquely diverse community. And I believed that if I was committed to this cause, I could help attract more people to the party.

But, a little more than a year ago, a fellow caucus member told me “We are the party of middle America.  I don’t care if the demographics don’t fit.” He declared that Republicans are the national majority and that it is our responsibility to represent “middle American” values here in Hawaii.

It was in that moment that I was finally able to identify the colonial mindset I’d unknowingly run up against for years. No ethnic group in our state is a majority, and more than 70 percent of the population isn’t white. But our Hawaii Republican Party leaders wanted us to adopt “middle American” values instead of holding on to Republican principles that also reflect our own local values, such as responsible stewardship over things like wealth and power.

This election, I saw members of my party marginalizing and condemning minorities, ethnic or otherwise, and making demeaning comments towards women. So, when I listened as our now top office holder refused to condemn the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, speaking out didn’t seem like a choice.

A little over a year ago, I was in Washington, D.C. with a group of Republican friends talking about my concerns with Donald Trump’s candidacy and, more specifically, his suggestion about a Muslim registry. They told me it was just rhetoric. I reminded them that a registry was only one step away from internment camps. Less than an hour later, we saw the breaking news headline, “Trump says he may have supported Japanese Internment.” As a woman and the only Japanese-American in our (then) seven-member caucus, I had something valuable to add about why our party continues to lose.

My Japanese-American grandparents owned a small grocery store in Hawaii during World War II with a small house attached to the back where my father’s family all lived in cramped space. When word spread through the community that the government was placing Japanese-Americans in internment camps, my grandpa destroyed everything written in Japanese, smashed my family’s beautiful Japanese dolls, and buried everything else that would make them look “less American” in the backyard.

Despite his devastatingly heroic actions, they took my grandpa anyway. He was fortunate enough to be detained for only a few hours, however, thousands of families across the United States weren’t so lucky.

Every immigrant group has a story of hardship and suffering. Every woman has a story about sexism or inequality. Most people’s stories are worse than mine. I’ve had a lot of opportunities in life, and I truly believed that the Republican Party was a group that believed in creating more opportunities for everyone.

President Trump’s meteoric success and his unabashed prejudices should have forced our party to address the elements of racism and sexism within the base. But for years, the party allowed it, fearing Democrats, primaries and third-party challenges. With electoral successes across the nation, concerns about disenfranchising minority voters are being buried. The party has ended conversations about how Republican rhetoric and actions threaten any ability to win amongst an increasingly diverse electorate.

So, I continued to speak out. The day after the inauguration, I spoke at the Hawaii’s Women’s March. I said we should all agree that the campaign remarks made by our president about women and minorities were unacceptable, and that it was our responsibility, regardless of who we voted for, to show our kids that everyone should be treated with respect.

A call for kindness and respect should have been a non-partisan message, but it was controversial within the party. Within 24 hours, calls for my resignation or censure abounded. My caucus told me that they would remove me from leadership unless I promised to not criticize the president for the remainder of his term. That was a promise I simply could not make.

Since I became a Republican eight years ago, I’ve served the party at every level from envelope stuffer to party chair. And, I’ve served our Republican legislators as a file clerk, an office manager, a research director and eventually, the Minority Leader. I dedicated myself to making the Republican party a viable, relevant party in Hawaii. But, what I’ve experienced over the last eight years is that the GOP doesn’t want to change.

The leaders that remain in the party either condone the problems I’ve identified or they agree with me but are unwilling to stand up and fight. For those reasons, I am resigning from the Republican party.

If I chose to stay, I would simply become an obstructionist in a political party that doesn’t want to hear my voice or my message. I don’t believe that I can make a difference in the Hawaii Republican Party, but I still believe there’s hope for other Republicans in other states.

I want to see all Americans fight for diversity of opinion, moderation, minorities, women, and ultimately, a better party system. Without confronting this problem, Republicans across the country will inevitably discover what it’s like to be a super minority, or a Republican in Hawaii. No matter how many walls are built and travel bans enacted, America’s demographics will keep changing, and the Republican party can’t keep marginalizing voices like mine and the people that care about what I’m saying.

Thank you,

Representative Beth Fukumoto

Commentary – Concerns Over New County Police and Fire Radio Systems

I am a member of the (CERT) Community Emergency Response Team here in Ocean view, and a ham radio operator. Being part of CERT we work closely with other agencies such as Volunteer Fire Department,  Red Cross, Hawaii County Civil Defense, and the National Weather Service.

I have concerns about the county switching over to the new narrow band VHF P25 phase 2 trunked radio system. They spent 31 million on this radio upgrade, and it doesn’t even cover the entire Island. There are a number of “dead spots” in the Ka’u area, especially here in HOVE.

As far as I know the county is in the process of trying to set up another radio site at the HOVE Fire Station, but currently they don’t have sufficient coverage in this subdivision. This poses a public safety issue. This also means that the county will probably end up spending more money on radio sites, and upgrades to enhance radio coverage on the island. Not to mention until the upgrades happens, they are putting police, firefighters, and the public at risk if their radios don’t work on the new digital radio system because of “dead spots.”

The Honolulu Police Department had similar problems with “dead spots” back in 1998 when they switched to Pro-voice 800 megahertz digital radio system which initially they thought would only cost $20 million dollars, but after numerous upgrades and adding more towers they ended up spending $40 million.

After reading information posted on the Hawaii Volunteer Fire Captains Association website, Volunteers complain that their new handheld radios battery does not last more than four to six hours. Sometimes volunteer firefighters are at a fire scene for longer than that. This may cause problems in a disaster when batteries cannot be charged at the scene of a event. The county needs to address these issues before we have serious problems.

Blake Stene
Hawaiian Ocean View Estates