YWCA Honors Lucille Chung and Barry Taniguchi as Remarkable

The YWCA of Hawaii Island will honor local business owners and community service leaders Lucille Chung and Barry Taniguchi as its 2015 Remarkable People.

Lucille Chung and Barry Taniguchi

Lucille Chung and Barry Taniguchi

“The YWCA is proud to recognize Barry and Lucille for their extraordinary accomplishments in business and throughout the community,” said Kathleen McGilvray, CEO of YWCA of Hawaii Island. “These remarkable individuals have devoted significant time and energy to transform the lives of those around them and make our community a more dynamic place to live and work.”

Chung has been a leader in efforts to preserve Laupahoehoe, where she was born and raised; she continued her social service through community building during her employment with Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center. Taniguchi, chairman of the board of KTA Super Stores, has provided leadership and support to business and community groups locally and statewide.

The pair will be honored at the Remarkable Person Luncheon Thursday, April 23, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Moku Ola Room. There are a limited number of tickets and sponsorship opportunities available. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Naomi at the YWCA of Hawaii Island office at 930-5705 or via email: tuyemura@ywcahawaiiisland.org.

Chung was born and raised in Laupahoehoe, graduating from the area school in 1958. She received an advanced stenographer’s degree from Hilo Commercial College in 1960. After graduation, Chung served as secretary to the industrial relations director of Laupahoehoe Sugar Company until 1962, when she took a job with the Hawaii County Police Department. Chung worked as the police operations clerk at the Laupahoehoe station for 32 years, retiring in 1994.
In 1996, she came out of retirement to work for the Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center as a community building facilitator, where her work extended from Waipio to Puna; she retired from QLCC in 2014.

While employed by the Police Department, Chung and her husband, Walter, started Walter’s Electric in 1977, where she served as the company’s accountant. The company expanded its operations in 2013 to include solar panel installations through Laakea Solar Technologies. Chung has long served her community. She is a charter member of, and volunteers for, many community groups including North Hilo Community Council, the Hawaiian Civic Club of Laupahoehoe and the Hilo-Hamakua Community Development Council. For years she has worked to improve Laupahoehoe while preserving its rich heritage and culture.

Taniguchi was born and raised in Hilo. He is a graduate of Hilo High School and received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. After graduation, Taniguchi worked at Haskins & Sells, CPAs (predecessor of the current Deloitte & Touche) and became a certified public accountant in 1971. In 1973, he became controller for The Realty Investment Company. A decade later, Taniguchi returned to the family business, KTA Super Stores, started in 1916; he became president and CEO in 1989. In 2014, he assumed the role of chairman of the board for KTA. Under his leadership, the family business has grown from four to six stores throughout Hawaii Island.

Taniguchi’s commitment to building a strong community is evident in his involvement in many organizations including Hawaii Community Foundation, Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, Hawaii Island Economic Development Board, Lyman House Memorial Museum and the Pacific Tsunami Museum. He sits on numerous boards including Hawaiian Electric Industries, American Savings Bank, Hawaiian Electric Company and Hawaii Employers Mutual Insurance Company.

16th Annual Waimea Healthy Keiki Fest Coming Up

The 16th Annual Waimea Healthy Keiki Fest will be held on Saturday, April 18th, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Parker Ranch Center.

Keiki Fest 2015

Designed for children ages 3 to 12, our keiki along with their parents will spend the day exploring a variety of free, hands-on activities addressing environment, fitness, health, mind, nutrition and safety.

Families will have the opportunity to explore more than 30 hands-on learning booths offering activities designed to develop healthy brains, healthy bodies and healthy beings. Activities include:

  • Free bicycle helmets from North Hawaii Community Hospital’s (NHCH) Trauma Team
  • “Glow Monster” hand hygiene education with NHCH
  • Bike safety course by Lex Brodie’s, PATH, South Kohala Traffic Safety and NHCH’s Trauma Team
  • DIY paper volcanoes with Center of the Study of Active Volcanoes
  • Veggie stamp art with Kohala Village Hub
  • Car seat fitting by the Department of Health – Public Health Nursing
  • Collage making art activity with the Waimea Arts Council
  • Many more hands-on activities

Each child will receive a “passport” to track their participation at each learning booth.  A completed “passport” offers keiki the opportunity to choose from a host of activities, such as a turn on the rock climbing wall or bounce house, or receive an airbrush tattoo.   This event’s mission is to bring the schools and communities of North Hawaii together to celebrate the health and safety of our greatest asset, our keiki.  All activities are free.

This year’s Keiki Fest is brought to you by North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) and Tutu’s House. This event supports the hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment topic of “Exercise, Weight and Nutrition”.   The umbrella topic of “Exercise, Weight and Nutrition” allows NHCH to touch the numerous health disparities found within the community. The Parker Ranch Center is located at 67-1185 Mamalahoa Highway in Kamuela.   For more information and to learn how you can support this hands-on kids’ event, please contact Laurie Edmondson, Community Outreach Coordinator at North Hawaii Community Hospital, at 881-4425 or at Laurie.Edmondson@NHCH.com.

Hawaii Principal Survey Results – Only One in Nine Principals Has Confidence in Board of Education

The Hawaii Education Institute (EIH), an independent think tank, has released the results of its 2015 Public School Principals Survey.

Education Institute

Methodology.  To participate in this on-line survey, principals were required to identify themselves to EIH.  This ensured that only principals completed the survey, and that no one principal completed the survey more than once.  Some principals chose not to participate because they did not want anyone to have the ability to link them to their opinions about the DOE.  But a majority of principals (144 out of 256) trusted EIH’s promise not to reveal the names of participating principals.

Complete Results Available.  The complete survey results, including the written comments of every survey participants, are attached to this news release.  They also can be found at http://www.edthinktankhawaii.org/.

Major Findings

Climate of Fear.  The climate of fear that was apparent in the 2014 EIH Principals Survey continues to exist.  For example, only two in five principals (41%) say they can express concern or critique DOE policies and practices without fear of reprisal, retaliation, or being unfairly evaluated on their performance evaluations.

Poor Implementation.  Principals give low marks to state DOE leadership for faulty implementation of Common Core and other recent initiatives:

  •  While most principals (70%) think Common Core has been good for their students, less than one in five (18%) thinks that state DOE leadership has done a good job of implementing it.
  • The percentage of principals who think state DOE leadership has done a good job of implementing the new testing regime is even smaller (8%).
  • Three out of four principals (78%) think the DOE’s implementation of the new teacher evaluation system (EES) has adversely affected morale at their schools.

Agreement with Governor Ige: Principals overwhelmingly support school empowerment and the governor’s plan to increase the percentage of DOE funding that is allocated by Weighted Student Formula (WSF) to 75%.

  • Only one in twenty principals (5%) disagree with the following statement:  “The share of DOE funding covered by WSF should be increased to 75% or higher.”
  • Only one in five principals (18%) say that the schools are already “empowered” to an appropriate degree.
  • Seven out of eight (87%) think school-level personnel should be allowed to control the means by which statewide standards and policies are achieved.
  • An even higher percentage of the principals (91%) think a principal who is not satisfied with support services from the DOE should be able to seek comparable services from a different provider.
  • None of the 144 principals disagreed with the following statement:  “I would like more flexibility in determining who will and will not work at my school.”

Lack of Support from DOE Leadership:  Only one in five (18%) thinks the DOE is providing the “system of support” that it is contractually obligated to provide, and the principals who say t DOE leadership treats them like partners are greatly outnumbered by those who say they are sometimes treated like servants.

  • Only 21% think that DOE leadership treats them like a partner.
  • Less than one in three (28%) disagrees with the following statement:  “DOE leadership sometimes treats me and other members of my school community like servants.”
  • Only one in three principals (32%) has confidence in the Superintendent.
  • Only one in five (21%) has confidence in the Assistant Superintendents.
  • Only one in nine (11%) has confidence in the Board of Education.

Observations of EIH leadership:

EIH President and Board Chair Roberta Mayor noted that “survey results indicate that principals are overwhelmingly in favor of Governor Ige’s school empowerment agenda.”

“Leading research indicates that principals are a key factor for student achievement, according to EIH Executive Director Darrel Galera.  “Supporting and empowering principals to be instructional leaders must be a priority, if it is ever to happen.”

EIH Vice-President and Board Vice-chair Ray L’Heureux said EIH’s goal is to add some transparency to the public school system, and added, “We also plan to survey teachers, parents, and state-level administrators in the near future.”

Purposes of the survey include the following:

  • To determine if principals have a collective voice, a shared perspective, and common agreement on relevant issues including school empowerment;
  • To provide feedback on the implementation of required policies, procedures, and initiatives that affect principals and their schools;
  • To provide feedback that can help to improve Hawaii’s public education system – so that principals can:
  1. Be student centered in meeting student learning needs
  2. Be more effective instructional leaders that support classroom teachers
  3. Build and sustain a positive school culture evidenced by high achievement and high morale
  4. Empower their school communities to provide for innovative and effective teaching and learning.

Groundbreaking Ceremony Begins Construction For New Hilo International Airport Aircraft Rescue & Firefighting Station

The state Department of Transportation (HDOT), Airports Division, celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony today for the new Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) station at the Hilo International Airport.

ito fire department 2

The new two-story, 21,000 square-foot facility will include four drive-through truck bays, a fueling area, new training facilities, along with improved work and living quarters for firefighters.

“Our crews here at the Hilo ARFF station provide very specialized Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting responses that are unique to the airport setting,” said Ross Higashi, Deputy Director of the Airports Division. “Each of these improvements will supply our firefighters with the facilities they need to train and carry out operations.”

ITO Fire department

Nearly 87-percent of the $18.8 million total was provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  State funds covered the remaining $3 million. The new station will be fully compliant with FAA requirements and is anticipated to be completed by June 2016.

“The safety of our air travelers is always one of our highest priorities,” said Governor David Ige. “Each of these improvements will help to keep our firefighters better trained, better equipped and ready to respond when the need arises. We look forward to the work being completed on time.”

Shark Attack at Hapuna Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii

A Kansas man suffered a shark attack Wednesday (March 18) at Hapuna Beach Park.

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach

In response to an 11:46 a.m. call, South Kohala officers responded to Hapuna Beach and learned that a 58-year-old man from Overland Park, Kansas, had been snorkeling with family at the south point of the beach when a shark bit him on the arm.

He was assisted to shore and taken to North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital, where he was treated for severe lacerations to his left forearm and injury to his left thigh.

Swimmers were evacuated from the waters.

Wordless Wednesday – Lava Sampling

HVO geologists get fresh lava samples as close to the vent as possible. Once the sample is scooped from the pāhoehoe lobe, it is quickly quenched in a bucket of water to stop the growth of any crystals and to preserve the composition of the liquid lava.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Once cooled, the sample is sent first to UH Hilo for quick analysis of a few components and prepared for a fuller analysis of its chemical components by a lab on the mainland. These data are used, with HVO’s geophysical monitoring data, as another way to assess any changes that may be occurring within Kīlauea volcano.

National PBS Documentary Features Local Efforts to Perpetuate Hawaiian Language

What does it take to save a language? Poet Bob Holman travels across the globe to uncover answers – including a stop in Hawaii to feature ongoing efforts to perpetuate our native language. Language Matters with Bob Holman makes its Hawaii broadcast premiere Thursday, March 19 at 8:00 p.m. on PBS Hawaii. language matters

Filmed around the world, the two-hour documentary features Hawaii in the third of three acts. Among those featured: Puakea Nogelmeier (pictured in attached photo with Holman), Pele Harman (pictured in attached photo with students from Ke Kula O Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u), Kauanoe Kamana, Larry Kimura, Kepa Maly, W.S. Merwin, Lolena Nicholas, Keali‘i Reichel and Kau‘i Sai-Dudoit.

Holman makes two other global stops:

  • In Australia, Holman visits Charlie Mangulda, an Aboriginal songman (poet), who is the only person left on the planet who speaks Amurdak. With linguist Nick Evans, Holman also flies to Goulburn Island off the coast of Northern Australia, where he meets a community of 400 people speaking ten languages, many endangered, all vulnerable.
  • In Wales, Holman explores the humor, rage and lyricism of the Welsh people, who brought their language back from the edge of extinction. Currently, three million people live in Wales and speak the native language.

Language Matters with Bob Holman is a co-production of David Grubin Productions Inc. and Pacific Islanders in Communications. For more information, visit the film’s website: www.languagemattersfilm.com

Application Deadline to Serve on State Ethics and Campaign Spending Commissions Extended

The Judicial Council is extending the deadline in its search to find qualified applicants to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Hawaii State Ethics Commission created by a term expiring on June 30, 2015. The council is also extending its deadline in its search to fill two upcoming vacancies on the Campaign Spending Commissions. The new application deadline is March 31, 2015.

JudiciaryMembers of both commissions serve on a voluntary basis. Travel expenses incurred by neighbor island commissioners to attend meetings on Oahu will be reimbursed.

Applicants must be U. S. citizens, residents of the State of Hawaii, and may not hold any other public office.

The Ethics Commission addresses ethical issues involving legislators, registered lobbyists, and state employees (with the exception of judges, who are governed by the Commission on Judicial Conduct). The five commission members are responsible for investigating complaints, providing advisory opinions, and enforcing decisions issued by the Commission. The Hawaii State Constitution prohibits members of the Ethics Commission “from taking an active part in political management or political campaigns.”

The primary duty of the five members of the Campaign Spending Commission is to supervise campaign contributions and expenditures. Commissioners may not participate in political campaigns or contribute to candidates or political committees.

The Governor will select the commissioners from a list of nominees submitted by the Judicial Council.

Interested persons should submit an application along with a resume and three letters of recommendation (attesting to the applicant’s character and integrity) postmarked by March 31, 2015. to: Judicial Council, Hawaii Supreme Court, 417 S. King Street, Second Floor, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813-2902.

Applications are available on the Hawaii State Judiciary website or by calling the Judicial Council at 539-4702.

Hawaii Residents Urged to Chase Water Waste this Week

The average American family could be wasting more than 10,000 gallons of water each year due to easy-to-fix household leaks, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program. That amount of water could increase a water bill by as much as 10 percent while wasting precious resources.

That’s why EPA is encouraging consumers to participate in WaterSense’s seventh annual Fix a Leak Week, March 16 through 22, 2015, by finding and fixing leaks around the home.

If every household in Hawaii lost as much as 10,000 gallons of water per year to leaks, residents would be, cumulatively, spending more than $48 million dollars on water lost to easily detectible and fixable leaks. According to the U.S. drought monitor’s March 3rd report, over 50% of the state is experiencing drought conditions.

Drought Monitor March
“Finding ways to conserve our precious water is everyone’s responsibility,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Household leaks in Hawaii may account for 5.26 billion gallons of water wasted each year.”

By following three simple steps—check, twist, and replace—consumers can save water and make their homes more efficient.

Here’s how to get started finding and fixing leaks:

Check: Look at your water meter, usually located outside your house, before and after a two-hour period of no water use. If the number has changed, there is likely a leak, which could be as simple to fix as replacing a worn rubber flapper in the toilet tank.

Twist: Fix dripping pipes, fixtures, or hoses by using a wrench to twist and tighten the connections. If needed, pipe tape can help seal shower fixtures or hose connections. Remind everyone in the house to turn faucets and showers off tightly, and check washers and valves for persistent drips.

Replace: For old or inefficient fixtures that are not easily repaired, look for WaterSense labeled models to replace them. These water- and money-saving high-performing products are independently certified to use at least 20 percent less water and perform well. You can find the label on the product packaging or the website of your favorite plumbing brand and they are available in a variety of styles and prices at home improvement stores.

To help consumers find and fix leaks, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply is hosting a Fix A Leak Week social media campaign that will encourage residents to check for leaks at home and work and to select high-efficiency fixtures wherever possible. Please also check with your local water supplier for more tips.

Visit www.epa.gov/watersense/fixaleak to learn more about finding and fixing leaks. The WaterSense Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EPAWatersense also has a map to help you find Fix a Leak Week events in your

 

Hawaii County Ordered to Suspend Drug Tests for Employees

Constitution protects government employees from such invasive medical examinations

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai’i and the law firm of Peiffer Rosca Wolf Abdullah Kane & Carr sued Hawai’i County in federal court on Monday, March 9 on behalf of Rebekah Taylor-Failor, a Kailua-Kona woman who is about to begin working for the County.

After giving her a conditional job offer, the County required her, as it requires all its prospective employees, to submit to a urinalysis and an invasive medical examination.
Piss TestShe asked the Court to allow her to start working (as a Legal Clerk II – a typical desk job) without submitting to a urinalysis; on Friday, March 13, the Court granted that request, ruling that “the urinalysis would violate Taylor-Failor’s Fourth Amendment rights[.]”

Until now, the County of Hawai’i required its prospective employees to submit a urine sample, which the County would subject to analysis that could reveal sensitive private medical information – such as whether an individual is diabetic or has a urinary tract infection – regardless of the physical duties the applicant would perform on the job.  The ACLU of Hawai’i and co-counsel Adam Wolf asked the Court for a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent the County from obtaining this private information from Ms. Taylor-Failor’s bodily fluids, citing constitutional protections from suspicionless searches.

In an attempt to avoid litigation, the ACLU of Hawaii reached out to the Hawaii County Department of Corporation Counsel in 2013, explaining that the County’s policies and procedures were unconstitutional; the County responded – incorrectly – that its policies were valid.  But siding against the County, the Court ruled in its order that “the County has proffered no explanation as to why it is entitled to search Taylor-Failor’s urine before she may begin employment in her light duty, clerical, non-safety-sensitive position….  Employment requirements cannot stand where they violate rights of a constitutional dimension.”

Mr. Wolf said, “The Constitution protects government employees from such invasive medical examinations.  The County of Hawai’i has no need to demand that its clerks reveal whether they have a urinary tract infection or diabetes.  Today’s ruling is a historic step toward reforming pre-employment medical tests so that they comply with the constitution.”

Rebekah Taylor-Failor said, “I’m eager to start working for the County, and I’m glad that the Court is allowing me to do so without having to sacrifice my constitutional rights.”

ACLU of Hawai’i Legal Director Daniel Gluck said, “We are glad the Court has recognized that the government does not need to perform invasive searches of bodily fluids to determine whether an office worker can perform her job.  Medical data is some of our most privately held information, and it is critical that we protect it from government overreach.”

The mission of the Hawai’i affiliate of the ACLU is to protect the civil liberties contained in the state and federal constitutions through litigation, legislative and public education programs statewide. The ACLU is funded primarily through private donations and offers its services at no cost to the public. The ACLU does not accept any government funds.

Kauai Biomass Project Nears Completion

The new biomass-to-energy power plant near Koloa on Kauai has successfully started its hot commissioning and expects to begin selling electricity to Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) by the beginning of May 2015.

The 6.7-megawatt biomass-to-energy facility will burn wood chips from trees grown and harvested on Kauai.  The plant will provide more than 11 percent of the island’s energy needs.  Once in operation, the plant will replace 3.7 million gallons of imported oil a year.

Once in operation, the plant will replace 3.7 million gallons of imported oil a year.

The plant is being constructed by Green Energy Team LLC (GET), a Hawaii limited liability company, and is using a biomass energy generation technology developed by Standardkessel Baumgarte, a German company that is one of the world leaders in energy technology.

The plant will burn wood chips produced from several sources on Kauai, including short-rotation trees grown on about 2,000 acres of land and several locations on Kauai that have been cleared of invasive species.

The plant will have the capacity to generate 7.5-megawatts of renewable energy to be delivered as electricity to KIUC under a power purchase agreement approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission in October 2011. Unlike solar and wind energy, the plant will provide firm power—day and night, independent of weather conditions—to KIUC. It will supply about 11 percent of Kauai’s annual electricity needs and will substitute power produced by diesel generators.

The facility will contribute to the State’s renewable energy portfolio goals that presently aim to have 70 percent of Hawaii’s energy needs from renewable resources. It will also be an addition to KIUC’s renewable energy portfolio, which currently consists of several hydropower projects and the utility co-op’s own two solar farms as well as other solar farms and customer-sited solar photovoltaic systems.

Construction on Green Energy Team’s biomass plant began in January 2013 and is nearly completed. Standardkessel provided the design and equipment for the plant and is providing construction management for the project. Construction was done by Bodell Construction Company; final work shall be completed by Diana Prince Construction, Inc. Financing for construction of the $90 million project is being provided by Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas.

Once completed and operational, Green Energy Team’s plant will create 39 permanent operating jobs and many indirect jobs for local service providers and agricultural operations.

The Kauai-based plant will be the first closed-loop biomass-to-energy plant in the United States and fueled by trees grown on-island. This is also the first commercial biomass project since the period when former sugar companies also sold electricity to Hawaii’s electric utilities.

Big Island Car Dealership Offering Free Car for Perfect March Madness Bracket Prediction

Big Island car dealership “Aiona Car Sales” is offering a 2014 Chevy Spark to anyone that can complete a perfect NCAA March Madness Bracket prior to the tournament starting.

Aiona Car DealMust be 18 & over and be a Big Island resident with valid drivers license as well as using this bracket to be qualified for the car.

Two Men Arrested on Burglary, Police Still Looking for Bike Used in Ironman

Two men have been charged with an assortment of offenses related to a burglary investigation.

The burglary was reported Monday (March 9) after a 35-year-old Keaʻau man returned to his Hawaiian Paradise Park home and discovered evidence of a break-in. He reported that a racing bicycle, electronics, checks and jewelry, including a wedding ring, had been removed from the home on Paradise Drive between 20th Avenue and 21st Avenue.

On Tuesday (March 10) 19-year-old Bruce Rogee of Hilo reportedly attempted to cash one of the victim’s checks at a bank in Hilo. Rogee and 23-year-old Taylor Kalawe of Keaʻau were arrested and taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

Search warrants were executed at Kalawe’s home on 19th Avenue in Hawaiian Paradise Park and on a vehicle. Police recovered the wedding ring and several other items stolen in Monday’s burglary.

After conferring with prosecutors, Kalawe was charged Thursday (March 12) with second-degree theft, attempted second-degree theft and forgery. He was also charged with contempt of court for an unrelated case. His bail was set at $30,150. Rogee was charged with second-degree forgery, second-degree theft and two counts of unauthorized possession of confidential personal information. His bail was set at $8,000.

Police ask anyone with information about the burglary or the location of the bicycle to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311. The bicycle is described as a 2012 Orbea Triathlon bike with a 2014 Ironman race sticker, number 1565.

Colby's BikeTipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

20th Annual Kick Butts Day in Hawaii

Kids in Hawaii will stand up to Big Tobacco on March 18 as they join thousands of young people nationwide for the 20th annual Kick Butts Day. More than 1,000 events are planned nationwide for this day of youth activism, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. (See below for a list of local events.)

toll of tobaccoOn Kick Butts Day, kids encourage their peers to stay tobacco-free, demand that tobacco companies stop marketing deadly, addictive products to them and encourage elected officials to do more to reduce youth tobacco use.

This year, Kick Butts Day is focusing attention on how the tobacco industry still spends huge sums on marketing and is adopting new strategies to reach young customers. Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $8.8 billion a year – one million dollars every hour – to market tobacco products. In Hawaii, tobacco companies spend $26.9 million annually on marketing efforts. The industry’s tactics that entice kids include:

  • Splashy ads in magazines with large youth readership, such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine and Rolling Stone.
  • Widespread advertising and price discounts in stores, which make tobacco products appealing and affordable to kids.
  • New, sweet-flavored tobacco products such as small cigars and electronic cigarettes. The latest surveys show that youth use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed.

In addition to organizing events, kids are standing up to the tobacco industry on social media through the #NotAReplacement selfie campaign. The tobacco industry’s own documents reveal that they have long targeted kids as “replacement smokers” for the more than 480,000 people their products kill each year in the United States. Kids are taking selfies to say they’re not a replacement and sharing the photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the #NotAReplacement hashtag. (view the #NotAReplacement selfie gallery)

“On Kick Butts Day, kids stand up and reject Big Tobacco’s manipulative marketing,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “We can make the next generation tobacco-free and end the tobacco epidemic for good. Elected officials can help reach that goal by standing with kids and supporting proven strategies to prevent youth tobacco use, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws and prevention programs.”

Health advocates in Hawaii are urging state leaders to increase the legal sale age for tobacco products to 21 to reduce smoking and save lives. In Hawaii, tobacco use claims 1,400 lives and costs $526 million in health care bills each year. Currently, 10.4 percent of Hawaii’s high school students smoke.

On Kick Butts Day, kids engage in creative events that range from small classroom activities about the harmful ingredients in cigarettes to large rallies at state capitols.

In Hawaii, activities include:

Youth with the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii in Honolulu will hold a major event at the State Capitol to educate and empower their peers to advocate for a bill to raise the tobacco age of sale in the state to 21. Youth will create signs, post to social media, and meet with legislators in support of the bill. Time: 10 AM. Location: 415 S. Beretania Street, Honolulu. Contact: Mary Goldsworthy (509) 710-4298.

Students at Helemano School Age Center in Wahiawa will learn about the dangers of smoking and create a short phrase about staying tobacco-free to display in the youth center’s fence with cups. Time: 3 PM. Location: 327 Kuapale Road, Wahiawa. Contact: Rebecca Staggs (808) 653-0724.

The U.S. Army Hawaii Youth Sports in Honolulu will hold a day of activities for youth to stand up to tobacco, including a fun run, a dance performance to ‘Thriller’ and informational activities. Time: 11:30 AM. Location: 4725 Bougainville Drive, Honolulu. Contact: Brittany Bigham (808) 426-8790.

All events noted above are on March 18. For a full list of Kick Butts Day activities in Hawaii, visit www.kickbuttsday.org/map. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.

National Science Foundation Awards UH Hilo $622,175 for STEM Scholarships

The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo a $622,175 grant to support the Scholarships for STEM Program (S-STEM), which provides scholarships for academically talented, economically disadvantaged high school seniors who major in one of the following STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) disciplines–astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental science, geology, marine science, mathematics and physics. The application deadline is April 15, 2015.

UH Hilo Moniker

Raina Ivanova, UH Hilo professor of mathematics, principal investigator and director of the program, said, “The S-STEM Program will provide much needed support for our deserving students who have demonstrated academic potential, but due to financial difficulties might not be able to consider a college degree. We are excited to be able to help our talented youth and enable them to pursue meaningful careers in STEM here in Hawaiʻi.”

S-STEM Program details

The S-STEM Program will provide each scholar with a $20,000 scholarship for four years of undergraduate studies (up to $5,000 per year), provided that the student maintains good academic standing and remains a STEM major. The program will also integrate and expand existing educational services for STEM students at UH Hilo.

Students will be selected on the basis of academic potential, motivation and interest in the STEM disciplines, as indicated by their high school GPA, standardized test scores, a letter stating interests and letters of reference.

Academic support services for the program include:

  • Faculty mentoring
  • Peer-tutoring for introductory STEM courses
  • Summer and academic year research support on campus
  • Opportunities for research internships
  • Advising and support to participate in summer research programs at U.S. mainland universities
  • Participation in a newly established freshman STEM course
  • Opportunities to present research in campus-wide, state and regional venues
  • Participation in a community service program in which students will provide math and science tutoring for K–12 students

To apply go to the S-STEM Program website.

Commentary – Group Disappointed in Child Molester Sentence

We’re appalled that an admitted child molesting teacher may spend just a year in prison.

We are deeply disappointed in Judge Glenn Kim’s decision to jail William Plourde so briefly. And we call on him to publicly explain why he gave such a lenient sentence – more appropriate for a purse snatcher than a child molester.

William Plourde

William Plourde

We beg officials in the Hawaii Catholic Church to aggressively reach out to anyone who saw, suspects, or suffered child sex crimes by Plourde and urge them to call police and prosecutors so that he might be charged again and kept away from kids longer. We suspect, based on our group’s 25 year history, that other current or former staff at Sacred Hearts Academy had inklings that Plourde had sexually violated kids but kept silent. We hope they’ll find the courage to step forward now.

It’s very possible that Plourde could be prosecuted and convicted for other child sex crimes. But the best way to make that happen is for Catholic school and church officials to use their vast resources to prod though who may have information or suspicions about Plourde to call law enforcement right away.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

BioEnergy Hawaii Plans Hawaii Island Resource Recovery, Energy Conversion System

BioEnergy Hawaii, LLC, (BEH) a designer, developer and operator of waste treatment and alternative energy systems, plans a fully integrated resource recovery facility on the west side of Hawaii Island. The $50 million facility will incorporate state-of-the-art material handling equipment and energy conversion technology to substantially reduce the amount of waste currently going directly into the landfill.
Bioenergy fact sheetThe West Hawaii facility will be totally financed with private equity. The project has the support of a $100 million special purpose revenue bond issued by the State of Hawaii. The project will be located near the Puuanahulu landfill; the exact location of the facility will be released when lease negotiations are finalized.

BioEnergy Hawaii is the long-term vision of Kosti Shirvanian, president of Pacific Waste, Inc., the parent company of BEH. “We have lived and worked on the Big Island for almost 20 years; and as members of the community we all share a responsibility to care for the land,” said Shirvanian. “This project will transform our waste into a resource and make a positive contribution to our community and our environment.”

The project will accept municipal solid waste (MSW) delivered by local waste collection companies, and divert a significant amount of the incoming waste (70 percent) from the West Hawaii Sanitary Landfill.

“We believe this project will meet Mayor Billy Kenoi’s goal of extending the life of the County’s landfills by diverting more waste, and the joint goal of protecting the aina,” said Guy Kaniho, BEH general manager.

The project will establish advanced recycling operations and produce multiple value products from the incoming waste. In order to maximize the diversion rate, the facility design integrates the recovery of three separate value streams: recyclable commodities, organics and solid fuel.

The recyclable materials, which would have been buried in the landfill, will be recovered and directed into the local recycling commodity market.

The wet organic waste (i.e. food and green waste); will be treated through an anaerobic digestion (AD) process to stabilize the material and produce a nutrient rich natural fertilizer and high-quality compost. The AD operations will also recover an energy rich biogas—a flexible fuel source that can be used to generate electricity, be upgraded to pipeline quality renewable natural gas (RNG), or compressed to create an alternative transportation fuel (known as bio-CNG).

The residual solid fuel portion—items not suitable for use in the anaerobic digester such as mixed paper, textiles, low-value plastic and wood—will be processed into a post-recycled engineered fuel—a dry, light material suitable for thermal energy conversion operations.

BEH plans to establish “closed-loop” waste recovery operations by encouraging local haulers to convert their waste collection vehicles to utilize the locally sourced bio-CNG. The fleet conversions will stabilize the waste hauler’s long-term fuel costs and allow them to utilize the low-carbon renewable biofuel and reduce the island’s dependency on imported fossil fuels.

Incoming waste will be handled and processed in an enclosed building to ensure dust and odor control. The waste will be separated and sorted through a combination of automated and manual recovery methods. Materials that cannot be recycled or processed into renewable fuel, fertilizer and compost will be delivered to the Puuanahulu landfill—about 30 percent of the total volume.

“Given our Island’s limited land area and fresh water resources,” said Kaniho, “recycling and waste diversion is a priority, as it is in much of the industrialized world.”

The goals of BEH are to divert the waste from traditional landfill disposal, preserve the environment, create local jobs, and make valuable products to circulate into the marketplace. “BioEnergy Hawaii has an experienced development team in place with a strong commitment to the community,” said Kaniho. “We use superior technologies, have solid financing and employ smart logistics to accomplish BEH’s goals.”

The BEH resource recovery facility is designed to address the challenges of waste disposal operations in Hawaii and to provide sustainable resource management solutions. The project is in alignment with current governmental goals and waste industry directives. BEH believes diverting the waste stream to create recycled energy value out of recovered material is a priority as it will benefit the community, preserve the environment and spur long-term economic growth.

Construction on the BioEnergy Hawaii facility is scheduled to begin during the summer of 2016.

For more information on the project and BEH, visit www.bioenergyhawaii.com.

Finance Committee Passes Budget Bill to Fund Kona Courthouse

The House Committee on Finance passed today its drafts of several budget bills, including the budgets for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), the Judiciary and the Executive operating and Capital Improvement Projects (CIP).

Kona Judiciary

Kona Judiciary

 

Included in the CIP allocations is $55 million to fully fund the Kona Judiciary Project, which received partial funding in the last biennium. With this final allocation, the project would be able to finally move forward and begin construction.

“As a member of the House Finance Committee, I helped to ensure that the House position is to fully fund the courthouse this year. Hopefully, the Senate will leave the funding in there. West Hawaii has been waiting a long time for this and if we continue to wait, costs will increase and conditions in the current facilities will continue to deteriorate. It’s crucial to get this project funded this year,” said Representative Nicole Lowen (District 6 – Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa).

The budget bills will now move to the House floor for a full vote, and then to the Senate for their consideration.

Nā Kuana`ike Pāheona o Hawaii: Artistic Perspectives of Hawaii

The Lyman Museum will present a new special exhibit to the public from April 17, 2015 through September 19, 2015.  The exhibit, Nā Kuana`ike Pāheona o Hawai`i: Artistic Perspectives of Hawai`i, will bring together paintings, prints, and photographs from the 18th to the 21st centuries, covering five major themes:  The Time of Contact, Hawaiian Royalty, Hawaiian Culture, The Volcano, and Hawaiian Landscape.

Halemaumau Crater in Kilauea Caldera, by D. Howard Hitchcock, 1893.

Halemaumau Crater in Kilauea Caldera, by D. Howard Hitchcock, 1893.

Each section will include a selection of paintings, most from the permanent collection of the Lyman Museum and some on loan for the exhibit.  The paintings featured are by artists from the time of Cook’s visit until the recent past.  Contemporary photographs will provide a recent perspective on similar themes from two local photography organizations, the Kona Camera Club and the Hilo Photo Club.

Since 1778, when the Resolution and the Discovery under Captain James Cook made contact with the thriving culture and beautiful islands of Hawai`i, artists have been using their skills to bring their perspectives of “paradise” to a wide audience.  Some of the works will be familiar to many, and others have never been seen before in any exhibit.  Many of the works of art in the special exhibit have come to the Museum through the generous bequest of Donn Carlsmith.  Others have been donated to the Museum by a number of individuals and some have been loaned specifically for this exhibit.  The Isaacs Art Center of Hawai`i Preparatory Academy has been a generous source of works by Herb Kane.

Paul Dahlquist, former Director and current Trustee of the Lyman Museum, serves as guest curator for the special exhibit.  “How exciting would it be to see a 19th-century painting of Kīlauea erupting displayed next to a contemporary photograph interpreting the same scene?  Or to compare an 18th-century print depicting the death of Captain Cook at Kealakekua Bay with a 19th-century image of the same event, and a 20th-century painting by Herb Kane based on meticulous historical research into Cook’s death?

Nā Kuana`ike Pāheona o Hawai`i: Artistic Perspectives of Hawai`i, will present artists’ perspectives of nature and culture in Hawai`i by joining 18th- and 19th-century paintings and prints with 20th- and 21st-century works by painters, printmakers, and photographers.  As curator, I am very excited to be bringing these works together in a single show at the Lyman Museum. Come enjoy this one-of-a-kind exhibit!”

The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawai`i.  Located in historic downtown Hilo at 276 Haili Street, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  During the run of this special exhibit the Museum will be closed May 25 (Memorial Day), July 4 (Independence Day), and September 7, 2015 (Labor Day).  For additional information, call (808) 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.

Rep. San Buenaventura Bills Pass House, Advances to Senate

As the 2015 Legislature reached its midway point this week, a number of bills introduced by Puna Representative Joy San Buenaventura are now up for consideration by the Senate after being passed by the full House of Representatives.

Reps. Joy San Buenaventura and Richard Creagan on the House floor.

Reps. Joy San Buenaventura and Richard Creagan on the House floor.

“I’m pleased that we’ve been able to keep these bills alive halfway through the very rigorous process of creating legislation,” Rep. Buenaventura said.  “They represent real solutions to everyday issues and problems faced by the people of Puna in the aftermath of life changing natural disasters, and I will continue to push for them even as they move to the Senate chambers.”

Among the bills are several measures that seek to address concerns raised by residents affected by the recent natural disasters that have impacted the Puna region.

  • HB737, HD2 helps current and future homeowners who reside in lava zone areas that has been declared to be in a state of emergency to obtain and renew property insurance policies.  This Act also enables a homeowner, in such a lava zone, who had no prior property insurance coverage to purchase insurance coverage to be effective within six months from the date of policy acceptance. (Co-introducer)
  • HB1314 HD1 establishes the emergency home relocation special fund to assist persons dispossessed of their homes as a result of a natural disaster by providing for infrastructure development, grants, and loans. (Primary Introducer)
  • HB376 HD2 makes specific changes to the Chief Election Officer including designating the position as an at-will employee; and requires the State Elections Commission to conduct a performance evaluation and to hold a public hearing on the performance of the Chief Elections Officer. (Primary introducer)

Others bills introduced by Rep. San Buenaventura and passed by the House include:

  • HB847, HD1 appropriates funds for an Interdisciplinary Hawaii Health Systems Corp. (HHSC) Primary Care Training Program at Hilo Medical Center to address the shortage of primary care physicians—particularly on the neighbor islands and in rural communities. (Co-introducer)
  • HB851, HD1 appropriates funds to establish an advanced life support ambulance based in Puna. (Co-introducer)
  • HB1107 appropriates funds for the establishment and maintenance of a bookmobile that will serve the rural areas of the island of Hawaii. (Primary introducer)
  • HB1370, HD1 provides statutory authority for the Employees’ Retirement System Administrator to make direct payment to a former spouse of a member of benefits or portion thereof pursuant to valid court judgment, order or decree. (Primary introducer)
  • HB87 shields process servers from prosecution under criminal trespass statutes when performing their duties. (Primary introducer)

A full list of measures proposed by Rep. San Buenaventura is available at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?report=intro&year=2015&leg=San%20Buenaventura&rpt_type=first_pri.