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    November 2015
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Hawaii Electric Bills Fall to Lowest Levels in More than Five Years

Customers of Hawaiian Electric and Maui Electric this month are seeing the lowest monthly electric bills in more than five years, largely due to the continued drop in fuel prices. And on Hawaii Island, customers of Hawaii Electric Light are benefitting even further, with the lowest monthly bills in more than six years.

“Lower oil prices are helping our customers right now, but we know our state needs to stay committed to long-term solutions, which means developing a diverse portfolio of low-cost renewable energy resources. It’s critical that we keep working toward our state’s goal of a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard,” said Darren Pai, Hawaiian Electric spokesman.

Based on 500 kwh/month for Oahu, Hawaii Island, and Maui; 400 kWh/month for Molokai and Lanai

Based on 500 kwh/month for Oahu, Hawaii Island, and Maui; 400 kWh/month for Molokai and Lanai

Currently, 22 percent of the electricity needs of the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ customers are met using renewable resources and Hawaii is by far the national leader in the percentage of customers with rooftop solar. And the Hawaiian Electric Companies are continuing to increase renewable resources and develop new options for customers to manage their bills. Recent actions include:

  • Proposed time-of-use rates for residential customers, public schools and electric vehicle owners
  • Expansion of utility-owned electric vehicle fast chargers
  • Piloting intelligent energy storage systems
  • A proposed community-based renewable energy program that would benefit customers who cannot or chose not to take advantage of rooftop solar to receive the benefits of renewable energy
  • Plans to install 137 megawatts of solar power from grid-scale projects to be completed in 2016

Chief Justice Recktenwald Honored with Peacemaker Award

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald was honored by the Kuikahi Mediation Center, in partnership with the Hawaii County Bar Association (HCBA), at an Annual Recognition Dinner on Sunday, November 15, 2015, in Hilo.

Julie Mitchell, Executive Director of Ku'ikahi Mediation Center, presented Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald with the 'Peacemaker Award' at an Annual Recognition Dinner on Sunday, November 15, 2015.

Julie Mitchell, Executive Director of Ku’ikahi Mediation Center, presented Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald with the ‘Peacemaker Award’ at an Annual Recognition Dinner on Sunday, November 15, 2015.

“This year Kuikahi is giving our ‘Peacemaker Award’ to the Chief Justice of the Hawaii State Supreme Court.  Chief Justice Recktenwald is nationally recognized for his leadership and commitment to increasing access to justice,” said Judge Andrew Wilson, Kuikahi’s board president. “He has been a strong supporter of alternative dispute resolution and has forwarded our efforts in the courts with programs such as the Hilo Self-Help Center and the Foreclosure Mediation Program.”

Under the Chief Justice’s leadership, Self-Help Centers were established in six locations statewide, including in Hilo and Kona.  More than 3,860 individuals, who otherwise could not have afforded legal representation, have been assisted on the Big Island, alone.  Statewide, the volunteer attorneys at the Self-Help Centers have assisted more than 10,000 people.

“More than half of our clients are at or below the poverty level,” said Julie Mitchell, Executive Director of the Kuikahi Mediation Center.  “The Hawaii State Judiciary has made tremendous strides in increasing its access to justice for all by increasing its services both in the courts and online.  We applaud Chief Justice Recktenwald for his vision and continued efforts.”

In addition, mediation services are available at the Hawaii State Judiciary’s district, circuit and appellate courts.  Chief Judge of the Third Circuit, Ronald Ibarra said: “The Chief Justice has always recognized the value of conflict resolution and conciliation methods and has supported programs, such as our Third Circuit Foreclosure Mediation Program, Family Court’s Ohana Conference, and our Court Annexed Arbitration Program.”

The Chief Justice has also helped expand services such as the Hawaii Appellate Pro Bono Pilot Project, a divorce mediation program on Kauai, and a paternity mediation pilot project on Oahu.

“I’m honored to receive this recognition from the Kuikahi Mediation Center and the HCBA,” said Chief Justice Recktenwald.   “It is because of our community partners like the Kuikahi Mediation Center that we are able to expand programs that encourage litigants to use mediation, so that they can attempt to resolve their conflicts on their own terms and at less cost.  We are grateful for this partnership and their continued support.”

HCBA also recognized Attorney Addison M. Bowman, who is a Professor of Law Emeritus at the UH William S. Richardson School of Law and an appellate mediator for the Hawaii Supreme Court, for his many years of service.

Kamehameha 6th Grader Earns National American Miss Hawaii Title – Heads to Mainland for National Pageant

Kamehameha 6th Grader Jordanna Takaki, daughter of Kori Takaki and Derek Kalai, has earned the prestigious title of 2015 National American Miss Hawaii through her successfully scored events in the local pageant.

11-year-old Jordanna Takaki

11-year-old Jordanna Takaki

She will be attending the National Pageant to be held at Disneyland during Thanksgiving week, representing Hawaii, where she will have the opportunity to win her share of over $500,000 in cash and prizes.

Jordanna is on the “Principals List – Honor Roll” at Kamehameha School Hawaii Campus and is active in the Drama Club while also dancing Tahitian for Merahi Productions. She enjoys swimming and was recently involved in the Hilo Palace Theater production of Mary Poppins.
Jordanna at Life Care Center
Jordanna volunteers at the Life Care Center of Hilo where she enjoys singing and dancing for the patients.

The pageant will be held on November 28th at Disneyland.

Hilo Photographer Receives Second Award at Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Today

Bruce Omori, co-owner of Extreme Exposure Fine Art Gallery in Hilo, received the Windland Smith Rice International Award for his lava photo titled “Ribbons in the Sky,” which will be displayed at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s annual exhibition which opened on October 24, 2015.

Bruce Omori standing with his image "Ribbons in the Sky" at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Bruce Omori standing with his image “Ribbons in the Sky” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Omori with his family by his side traveled to Washington, DC to be honored amongst all the other recipients in a formal ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History on November 12, 2015. His winning photograph was selected from almost 20,000 submissions from photographers in 46 countries.

“It’s such a tremendous honor to receive this award again, as many previous WSR winners are the very photographers who have been my source of inspiration over the years…   I’m truly grateful for the work they’ve done and continue to do, and humbled to share this experience with so many other talented photographers in this competition as well.” Omori said.
Omori’s winning entry in the Art in Nature category, “Ribbons in the Sky,” is a wild airborne abstract created by a huge lava bubble explosion at the ocean entry.  “Lava bubbles are definitely one of my favorite aspects of volcanic activity, as its infrequent and unpredictable nature make it difficult, yet exhilarating to shoot.


The bursts are so spontaneous, there is no way to plan for a precise composition, and this 50 to 60 foot wide bubble was no exception.  The early morning light gave a perfect balance to the expanding ribbons of lava against the contrasting background for a one of a kind image.  And, about being in the right place at the right time…  I’m just so thoroughly blessed to have the opportunity to witness, let alone photograph, this incredible living and breathing planet we dwell on, from this perspective…  at home, here in Hawaii!”

New Lava Flow Map Shows Recent Changes to East Rift Zone

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow on October 23 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on November 12 is shown in red. Not all changes at the northern edge of the flow in the forest were mapped due to poor weather and visibility. The yellow lines show the active lava tube system. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over a 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

Former Hawaii Resident Denny Burniston Calls Cops on My Website

Denny Burniston the Hawaii Police Department has contacted me today and I wish that you would quit stalking my website, quit harassing me, and just get a life in general.

Denny Burniston

Denny Burniston

No I will not be removing anything from my website… especially a Hawaii Police “Media Release” that can still be found online other places!

I’m sorry you don’t understand a thing about the internet and that you think that you can make the Mayor, the Prosecutors Office, My Internet Service Provider and now the Hawaii Police Department remove something from my website.

No you can’t comment here and no I won’t remove this either.  May this be a lesson learned for you!

EPA Awards $80,000 to Educate Hawaiian Students on Local Watersheds

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded an environmental education grant of $80,000 to the Pacific American Foundation located in Kaneohe, Hawaii.

pacific american foundation

The goal of the program, Wisdom of the Watershed, is to improve environmental science education by increasing the interest of Hawaii’s youth in science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines through culturally-relevant curriculum and meaningful outdoor watershed educational experiences.

The program will help sixth through twelfth grade students explore and compare three different watersheds in Hawaii with different land management practices. Students will take field trips partnered with research scientists and will measure water quality in the watersheds using scientific instrumentation. The microbial and sediment environments will also be sampled. Students will analyze the collected data and engage in service learning projects to improve environmental quality throughout the watersheds.

“Hawaii’s watersheds are unique,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The Pacific American Foundation will teach the next generation of scientists to protect and manage these critical natural resources.”

“The Pacific American Foundation’s program, Wisdom of the Watershed, provides environmental educational by engaging students, in current, ongoing environmental research through partnerships with University researchers, graduate and undergraduate students, and public and private sector businesses, thus providing relevance in STEM learning and a profound understanding of both the scientific and engineering processes,” said Derek Esibill, Program Director of the Wisdom of the Watershed Program. “Concurrently, the program engages teachers by tailoring their curriculum to enable students to participate in ridge to reef expeditions. These expeditions use cultural, place-based research projects to create meaningful outdoor experiences, increasing the interest of Hawai`i’s youth to pursue pathways in STEM careers.”

EPA’s Environmental Education Local Grants Program supports environmental education projects that increase the public’s awareness and provide them with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Regional Office received over 80 applications this year, and the Pacific American Foundation project is one of seven projects in the Pacific Southwest Region that will receive an environmental education grant.

For more information on Environmental Education Grants, please visit: www2.epa.gov/education/environmental-education-ee-grants

For more information on the Pacific American Foundation, please visit: www.pacificamerican.foundation

Navy Rethinks Pacific Training that Endangers Whales, Dolphins and Other Marine Life

The US Navy today said it plans to prepare a new environmental impact statement for training and testing exercises in the Pacific Ocean from December 2018 onward, including the use of sonar and explosives that threaten widespread harm to whales, dolphins, other marine mammals and imperiled sea turtles. The move follows a March 31 federal court ruling that the Navy illegally failed to consider restricting military exercises in biologically important areas within the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area to reduce harm to marine mammals.

USS Lake Erie

“The Navy doesn’t need to blow up breeding areas or blast migrating whales with sonar so we’re glad they’re taking a closer look at this critical issue,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Navy doesn’t need continuous access to every square inch of the Pacific. It’s a big ocean, and we need protections for the areas that are particularly important for whales and dolphins.”

The Navy’s current five-year training plan was overturned after a legal challenge in federal court by Earthjustice, representing Conservation Council for Hawai‘i, the Animal Welfare Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Ocean Mammal Institute. In a September 2015 settlement, the Navy agreed to put important habitat for numerous marine mammal populations off-limits to dangerous, mid-frequency sonar training and testing and the use of powerful explosives during the remainder of the five-year plan, which expires in December 2018.

“The science is clear.  To avoid permanent injuries and death to whales, dolphins and other marine mammals, it is vital to keep Navy sonar and explosives out of the areas these animals need for essential activities like feeding, resting and caring for their young,” explained Earthjustice attorney David Henkin, who represented the conservation groups in the federal court case.  “When it voluntarily agreed to the settlement, the Navy made clear that it can both perform its mission and stay out of important marine mammal habitat.”

“We urge the public to get involved and tell the Navy its new study needs to examine ways to keep destructive training out of vital marine mammal habitat,” said Marjorie Ziegler, executive director of Conservation Council for Hawai‘i.

The public comment period on the new environmental impact statement ends January 12, 2016. The public can submit comments online at http://www.hstteis.com. The public can also attend one of three scoping meetings: December 1 in San Diego, CA; December 3 on Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i; and December 5 in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

Despite the March ruling and September settlement, the Navy continues to conduct military exercises that can injure and kill marine wildlife. On November 4, the National Marine Fisheries Service said it is investigating the death of two dolphins that washed ashore near San Diego after Navy ships were using sonar in the area.

“The bottlenose dolphins that died last month off San Diego likely came from a population that numbers less than 400,” said Susan Millward, executive director at the Animal Welfare Institute.  “We need to keep up the pressure on the Navy to do more to protect these highly intelligent and vulnerable animals.”

Ocean mammals depend on hearing for navigation, feeding and reproduction. Scientists have linked military sonar and live-fire activities to mass whale beaching, exploded eardrums and even death. In 2004, during war games near Hawai‘i, the Navy’s sonar was implicated in a mass stranding of up to 200 melon-headed whales in Hanalei Bay, Kaua‘i.

The Navy and Fisheries Service estimate that, over the current plan’s five-year period, training and testing activities will result in thousands of animals suffering permanent hearing loss, lung injuries or death. Millions of animals will be exposed to temporary injuries and disturbances, with many subjected to multiple harmful exposures.

A video on the effects of Navy sonar training on marine mammals is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9gDk29Y_YY

Hawaiian Electric Companies Propose New Time-of-Use Rates to Help Public Schools

The Hawaiian Electric Companies have proposed to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission new, lower day-time electric rates for the Hawaii Department of Education that could help public schools manage their electricity costs as they add more air conditioning and cooling equipment, while also using renewable energy that is available during day-time hours.

Helco new Logo 2

“At the Hawaiian Electric Companies, we know the challenges in providing a comfortable learning environment for our students and teachers,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service. “There’s been a big push for air conditioning and fans in our public schools so we wanted to find a way to assist in controlling their energy costs as they add this equipment.

“Our goal in proposing these rates is to give the Department of Education the opportunity to expand air conditioning in classrooms across the state with a tool to manage the increase in electricity use that could really hit a school’s utility budget,” he said.

“These schools are supported by our tax dollars,” said Alberts, “Giving schools greater control over their electric bills will allow more money to pay for education and other priorities.”

Hawaiian Electric estimates that the Department of Education would have saved about 9 percent on electric bills for the twelve months ended June 2015 had the proposed rates been in effect. These savings could help offset the increase in costs as more air-conditioning and cooling equipment is added.

“The department has been working on a number of ways to effectively cool schools,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The time-of-use rate proposed by Hawaiian Electric would enable us to move forward on air conditioning projects while managing energy costs as well as foster responsible energy usage.”

Each of the 240 public schools in the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ service territories (Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Oahu) will have the option to take advantage of the new rates. Actual savings will depend on how much each school is able to change its use to fit the time-of-use rate periods. Participating schools would pay:

  • The lowest rate – about 25 percent less than the recent average effective energy charge –from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (super off-peak hours).
  • A rate that is the same as the existing energy charge rate from midnight to 8 a.m. (off-peak hours).
  • A rate that is higher — above the existing energy charge rate — from 4 p.m. to midnight (on-peak hours).

Proposed rates also support renewable energy

These rates are also designed to encourage more electricity use during the hours of the day when renewable energy – particularly solar – is adding more low cost electricity to the grid. In addition, by designing time-of-use rates to better match demand with energy supply, the utilities may also reduce the need for additional system resources, including utility generation, during evening peak hours.

The new rates provide educational as well as operational opportunities for students and teachers as well as administrators to see each participating school’s energy use. With the additional grid intelligence from the Hawaiian Electric Companies Smart Power for Schools’ program, electricity use trends with the proposed DOE time-of-use rates can be monitored, managed and evaluated by both the DOE and Hawaiian Electric Companies to refine the rate schedules in the future.

The proposed new rates are called “Schedule DOE-J, Commercial Time-of-Use Service” and “DOE-P, Large Power Time-of-Use Service.” Most schools would fall under the DOE-J rate.

Hawaiian Electric is asking the PUC to allow these rates to go into effect by January 5, 2016 and stay in effect for ten years, through four to five of the Department of Education’s two-year budget cycles to ensure proper evaluation of the stated objectives.

Other time-of-use rate programs to come

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are also developing time-of-use rate proposals that other customers will be able to take advantage of to help manage their energy costs and support renewable energy. Those proposals will be submitted to the PUC this month.

UH Hilo Participating in Million Student March #MillionStudentMarch

The United Hawaii Student Union (UHSU), a registered independent student organization (RISO) at UH Hilo is happy to be an organizer of the national movement #MillionStudentMarch this Thursday at UH Hilo.
Student March
The event will start at 10am at the Mookini Library and will go on until 4pm. Anybody in support of student rights is invited.
Hawai’i Senator Russell Rudderman will be speaking at 12pm along with Hawai’i County Corporation Council Attorney Steven Strauss along with other speakers. A UH Hilo campus march will begin at 12:30pm. Please wear red.
The national demands consist of 3 items:
  1. Tuition-free public colleges and universities
  2. Cancellation of all student debt
  3.  $15/hr campus-wide minimum wage for college workers

Please bring local food for the all day potluck.  Facebook event here Official website www.studentmarch.org

For more information contact UHSU at Uhstudentunion@gmail.com

New Tool – Vog Measurement and Prediction Project

A paper published this month by University of Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory researchers in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society details the development and utility of a computer model for the dispersion of volcanic smog or “vog,” which forms when volcanic sulfur dioxide gas interacts with water and coverts it to acid sulfate aerosol particles in the atmosphere.

Vog poses a serious threat to the health of Hawaiʻi’s people as well as being harmful to the state’s ecosystems and agriculture. Even at the low concentrations, which can be found far from the volcano, vog can provoke asthma attacks in those with prior respiratory conditions. It also damages vegetation and crops downwind from the volcano.


Click to check out the project

News tools for predicting vog

Scientists from the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), under the leadership of Professor of Meteorology Steve Businger, and in collaboration with researchers at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, developed a computer model for predicting the dispersion of vog. The vog model uses measurements of the amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emitted by Kīlauea, along with predictions of the prevailing winds, to forecast the movement of vog around the state.

The team of scientists developed an ultraviolet spectrometer array to provide near-real-time volcanic gas emission rate measurements; developed and deployed SO2 and meteorological sensors to record the extent of Kīlauea’s gas plume (for model verification); and developed web-based tools to share observations and model forecasts, providing useful information for safety officials and the public and raising awareness of the potential hazards of volcanic emissions to respiratory health, agriculture and general aviation.

“Comparisons between the model output and vog observations show what users of the vog model forecasts have already guessed—that online model data and maps depicting the future location and dispersion of the vog plume over time are sufficiently accurate to provide very useful guidance, especially to those who suffer allergies or respiratory conditions that make them sensitive to vog,” said Businger.

A statewide concern

Kīlauea volcano, the most active volcano on earth, is situated in the populous State of Hawaiʻi. The current eruption has been ongoing since 1983, while a new summit eruption began in 2008.

The most significant effect of this new eruption has been a dramatic increase in the amount of volcanic gas that is emitted into Hawaiʻi’s atmosphere. While the effects of lava eruption are limited to the southeastern sector of the Big Island, the volcanic gas emitted by Kīlauea is in no way constrained; it is free to spread across the entire state.

“Higher gas fluxes from Kīlauea appear to be the new norm. For the State of Hawaiʻi to understand the effects of vog and then come up with strategies to efficiently mitigate its effects, accurate forecasts of how vog moves around the state are vital,” said Businger.

The American Recovery Act award that originally funded the development of the vog model program has long since expired. Funding for a PhD candidate, Andre Pattantyus, to help keep the online vog products available has been provided by SOEST and the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research.

Because Pattantyus, the lead vog modeler, is set to graduate this winter, the vog program is at a crossroads. Businger is working with stakeholders that include federal, state, commercial and private interests to jointly fund an ongoing vog and dispersion modeling capability for the residents of Hawaiʻi.

Public support of the vog modeling program is critical for the program to continue providing vog plume predictions in future.

Kona Attorneys Recognized for Volunteer Service to the West Hawaii Community

Thirty attorneys were recognized for their volunteer service during the Self-Help Recognition Awards on November 6, at the Kona Courthouse in Kealakekua.

These attorneys provided free legal information to West Hawaii residents who visited the Self-Help Desk at the Kona Courthouse.

These attorneys provided free legal information to West Hawaii residents who visited the Self-Help Desk at the Kona Courthouse.

The Kona Self-Help Desk was established in October 2013 as part of the Hawaii State Judiciary’s commitment to increasing access to justice in the courts.  Since opening, the Self-Help Desk has helped more than 1,000 people, with volunteer attorneys providing approximately 400 hours of legal information on District and Family Court civil matters, such as temporary restraining orders and divorce.  These services have been provided at almost no cost to the state.

“I am grateful to the attorneys who volunteer their time at our Self-Help Desk, assisting individuals who must represent themselves in court.  The generous donation of professional services by these attorneys has been essential to advancing our goal of ensuring that all Hawaii residents have equal access to justice,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.

The volunteers were recognized by Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Third Circuit Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra, Deputy Administrative Director of the Courts Iris Murayama, District Family Court Judge Aley Auna, Chief Court Administrator of the Third Circuit Lester Oshiro, and Third Circuit Deputy Chief Court Administrators Dawn West and Cheryl Salmo.

The individual attorneys who were honored are as follows:  Joanna Sokolow (recognized for the most volunteer shifts), Al Lerma, Charlie McCreary, Herman Heimgartner, Dean Kauka, Kaua Jackson, Dawn Henry, Kim Taniyama, Cynthia Tai, Michael Schlueter, Jason Kwiat, Catherine Gibson, Mark Van Pernis, Rebecca Colvin, Daniel Peters, Gerald Garcia, Fred Gianinni, Ann Datta, Stephen Whittaker, Mitch Roth, Jennifer Heimgartner, John Powell, Andrew Kennedy, Shawn Nakoa, Mike Matsukawa, Bob Borns, Wendy DeWeese, Peter Olson, Carol Kitaoka, and Robert Olson.

Also acknowledged were Erin Henschel, Madeline Taomia, and Heather Basham, the AmeriCorps Advocates who, through the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, organize the Self-Help Desk at the Kona Courthouse each week.

Dawn Henry, Managing Attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii in Kona said, “I am so pleased by the support the West Hawaii Bar Association and our local attorneys have given to this effort.  Every week, West Hawaii residents use the Self-Help Desk to gain information on how to file court papers and be active participants in legal actions.  The Kona Self-Help Desk is the result of a statewide collaboration of the Hawaii State Judiciary, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, and our local bar has enthusiastically gotten behind the effort. With the donation of their time, today’s honorees are helping to make justice a living reality in our community.”

The Chief Justice also thanked the West Hawaii Bar Association, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, and the Access to Justice Commission for their support of the Self-Help Desk.

For more information on the Kona Self-Help Desk as well as the Self-Help Center at Hale Kaulike in Hilo see:  http://bit.ly/1MpcAOd

Hawaii Is the State with the 3rd Lowest Uninsured Rate Post-Obamacare

With the third open-enrollment period for health insurance upon us and 11.7 percent of the U.S. population still lacking coverage, the personal finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2015’s States with the Highest & Lowest Uninsured Rates.

Click to view entire list

Click to view entire list

For the second year in a row, WalletHub’s analysts drew upon the most reliable data to estimate the rates of uninsured pre- and post-Obamacare for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. For a broad perspective of those rates, we broke the national figures down to the state level and other categories, including age, race and income level.

Health Insurance Coverage in Hawaii:

  • Obamacare reduced the children’s uninsured rate by 15.29 percent between 2010 and 2014.
  • Obamacare reduced the adult uninsured rate by 35.52 percent between 2010 and 2014.
  • The uninsured rate for whites is 1.51 percent lower than that for Hispanics.
  • The uninsured rate for higher-income households is 57.03 percent lower than that for lower-income households.
  • The rate of publicly insured is 30.61 percent.
  • The rate of privately insured is 69.39 percent.
  • The rate of employer-based health insurance coverage increased by 8.03 percent between 2010 and 2014.
  • The uninsured rate pre-Obamacare was 7.89 percent and has fallen to a current rate of 5.27 percent, with 31,653 persons gaining health insurance coverage.

For the full report, please visit:

UHSU Commentary – Hawaii Community College Student Wants Answers on Student Funding

United Hawai’i Student Union (UHSU) member Asia Olsen sent the following email to Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at Hawaii Community College Jason Cifra.

Asia Olsen

Asia Olsen Facebook picture

He is required by state law to respond within 10 business days. UHSU will keep you posted on his response.

See you at the #MillionStudentMarch this Thursday 10-4pm Library Lanai.
Facebook event here

Aloha Jason Cifra,

Per the Freedom of Information Act and the Sunshine Law I would like to request answers and / or corresponding documentation to the following:

Currently what are the names all of the individual Chartered Student Organizations (CSOs) of HawCC?

Please provide me with all of the individual CSOs of HawCC’s constitutions, charters and/ or bylaws.

Please provide me with all of the budgets for the past five years of all of HawCC’s CSOs.

How much money was collected in student fees this fiscal year?

Please provide the amount of student fees collected over the individual past 5 fiscal years.

What paid positions are paid for out of HawCC’s CSOs budgets?

Please provide the names of the individuals whose positions are funded by HawCC student fees.

Please provide the job descriptions of all positions paid for by HawCC student fees.

Please provide the names of the individuals and their job descriptions of all positions paid for by HawCC student fees over the past 5 fiscal years.

Please provide the names and job descriptions of all employees in the student affairs department at HawCC.

Please provide me with any and all documentation, guidelines, rules, policies and/or regulations of pertaining to the allocation of student fees.

Does the Student Life Center receive funding from student fees?

Please provide the current fiscal year budget for the Student Life Center.

Please provide the budgets and receipts of the Student Life Center over the past 5 fiscal years.

Who is currently in charge of the Student Life Center?

Who is the designated representative by the board of regents at HawCC who may withdraw funds on behalf of Chartered Student Organizations in reference to: §304A-2257 University of Hawaii student activities revolving fund?

Mahalo for your cooperation,

Asia Olsen
Hawaii Community College student
United Hawaii Student Union member

Operation Compassion Collects Over 70 Kits for Abused Children and Victims of Domestic Violence

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council’s CEO, Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita and her daughter, Deannah Che Preston worked for two months on project, Operation Compassion to help collect therapeutic kits for abused children and victims of domestic violence.

This mother and daughter team with the help of the Big Island Substance Abuse Council successfully collected over 70 completed kits. Each backpack included a blanket, stuffed animal, hygiene kits, coloring books, notebooks, pencils, crayons, and a storybook.

This mother and daughter team with the help of the Big Island Substance Abuse Council successfully collected over 70 completed kits. Each backpack included a blanket, stuffed animal, hygiene kits, coloring books, notebooks, pencils, crayons, and a storybook.

High School senior, Deannah Che wanted to make a difference in children’s lives.  “It really saddens me when children have to experience abuse, especially alone.”  Her purpose was to show them that they are not alone and that people care.  Together, they have seen the outpouring of support.  “We are so fortunate to live in a community that everyone pulls together to inspire change and we are humbled and grateful for all the support” says, Dr. Hannah.

Due to this support, BISAC will continue this as an annual campaign to benefit the Children’s Justice Center a program which provides support to abused children and victims of domestic violence.

Since 1964, the Big Island Substance Abuse Council has been inspiring individuals and families to reclaim and enrich their lives.  “These kits will continue our mission and hopefully make a difference in our community” says, Dr. Hannah.    If you want to donate please contact 969-9994 ext. 827.

TMT Site Preparations Beginning

While workers associated with the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island begin maintenance and repair activities, hunting and other recreational activities and research also continue on the mountain.

Suzanne Case, Chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources said, “Mauna Kea is very much a multiple-use area for a wide array of cultural, recreational and research activities. Our goal is to ensure that people on the mountain conduct themselves responsibly and with respect for other users. As local workers prepare to begin work at the TMT site, we want to remind people of other simultaneous activities that may be occurring on the mountain.”

TMT laser

November 16-17, 2015 and again December 14-15, 2015 the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will conduct animal control activities specifically for trapping mouflon/feral sheep hybirds, as well as staff hunting and/or aerial shooting from helicopters for feral goats, sheep, mouflon and mouflon/sheep hybrids.  These activities will occur within critical palila habitat in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve (Unit A), Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve (Unit K) and the Ka’ohe Game Management Area (Unit G). Aerial shooting is required by federal court order to improve and maintain critical habitat for the palila, a bird endemic to Hawaii.  Please see this link for the news release announcing these animal control activities: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/blog/2015/09/28/nr15-149/

Also the 2015-2016 game bird hunting season began on November 7, 2015 and continues through Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016 on private and public lands.  This includes multiple game management units, forest reserves and other public lands on Mauna Kea.  For specific information on game bird hunting rules and specific hunting areas please refer to this news release: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dofaw/announcements/nr15-160f/.

Case added, “We want everyone conducting customary and traditional practices, enjoying recreational activities, or exercising their free speech rights on Mauna Kea to understand that they are sharing the mountain with many others and we want an atmosphere where kama’aina and visitors can all enjoy their activities, safely.

Sam Choy Introduces New Kitchen Line at the Royal Kona Resort

Saturday evening at the Royal Kona Resort, Celebrity Chef Sam Choy partnered up with Tiki Shark Hawaii by hosting a party and introducing the world to Choy’s new line-up of kitchen items.

World Champion surfer Anthony Walsh and his girlfriend, Aidan James, Sam Choy, World Champion Surfer Jamie O'Brien and his girlfirend with Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker in front.

World Champion surfer Anthony Walsh and his girlfriend, Aidan James, Sam Choy, World Champion Surfer Jamie O’Brien and his girlfirend with Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker in front.

A large crowd filled Don the Beachcomber Bar downstairs of the Royal Kona Resort for a concert that culminated with 13-year-old YouTube sensation Aidan James and John Cruz on the stage together.

Aidan James and John Cruz bring down the house!

Aidan James and John Cruz bring down the house!

Sam Choy mentioned about the hard work that was done putting together this new line of kitchen products and spoke with Professional Surfers Anthony Walsh and Jamie O’Brien about doing a YouTube show from their respective houses.

Sam Choy "In the Kitchen with Anthony Walsh and Jamie O'Brien???

Sam Choy “In the Kitchen with Anthony Walsh and Jamie O’Brien”???

You can click here to view Sam Choy’s In the Kitchen clips.

While Sam Choy signed many autographed copies of his book’s, partial proceeds from the evenings event went to Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation.

Sam Choy and his grand daughters.

Sam Choy and his grand daughters.

Hilo folks will have the opportunity to check out Aidan James at the Hilo Palace Theater next Saturday Evening November, 14th at 7:00.

Body Glove Sponsored Surfers Anthony Walsh and Jamie O'Brien flank Teen Rocker Aidan James.

Body Glove Sponsored Surfers Anthony Walsh and Jamie O’Brien flank Teen Rocker Aidan James.

The product line will be available at his restaurants as well they will begin showing up in various gift shops around the island.  They can currently be found at the Kona Oceanfront Gallery at 75-5770 Ali’i Drive in Kona.

Sam Choy and Aidan James signing autographs.

Sam Choy and Aidan James signing autographs.

HELCO Announces Scheduled Power Outage for North Hawaii

Hawaii Electric Light Company announces a scheduled power outage that will affect customers in Hawi and Kapaau. This temporary outage is necessary to allow Hawaii Electric Light personnel to safely upgrade equipment at the Hawi Substation to improve system reliability. The outage will be from 11 p.m. on Wednesday, November 11, to 5 a.m. on Thursday, November 12, 2015.

The affected areas are Mahukona along Akoni Pule Highway to Old Mill Stack Road, including Hawi Road Makai and the mauka side of Kahei Houselots, as well as Akoni Pule Highway from Hawi Road to Kapaau Road (see map below).

Hawi NoticeHawaii Electric Light advises affected customers to keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed and unplug sensitive equipment prior to the outages. Customers who depend on medication or life support equipment should make arrangements for a back-up power supply or transportation to a facility outside the affected area.

Hawaii Electric Light regrets any disruption this outage could cause and thanks customers for their patience and understanding. If there are any questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

Friends of the Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority Names New Executive Director

Candee Ellsworth is the new executive director of the Friends of the Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority (FON). A new Hawai’i Island resident, Ellsworth most recently worked as executive director of the Nature’s Nursery Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation & Conservation Education in Ohio.

Candee Ellsworth

Candee Ellsworth

The Midwest native also served 16 years as conservation coordinator of the Toledo Zoo and was a graduate program adjunct professor at Miami University. Ellsworth has a master’s degree in biology from Miami University and a bachelor’s degree in zoology from The University of Findlay.

As executive director, Ellsworth will oversee the organization’s operations, which includes weekday public tours and presentations focusing on cutting edge renewable energy and aquaculture at the ocean science and technology park. Tour volunteers are needed; phone 329-8073 for details.


FON is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing education and outreach at NELHA for the responsible and sustainable use of renewable resources for energy, aquaculture and ocean technology. It offers weekday tours and presentations headquartered from NELHA’s Gateway Visitor Center—a LEED Platinum, sustainable, zero-net energy facility located in Keahole-Kona on Hawai‘i Island. www.FriendsofNELHA.org


Dengue Fever Information Update – Public Meetings Begin Tonight

This is a Dengue Fever information update for Monday November 9th at 10:30AM.

The State Department of Health continues to work with other state and county agencies on the issue of the Dengue Fever outbreak.  As of 12:00 noon Friday the Department of Health has reported 23 confirmed cases originating on Hawaii Island.  These cases include 15 residents and 8 visitors and across multiple areas of the island.  An update of the number of cases will be made later today.


Dengue fever is a virus that is transmitted or spread by infected mosquitoes and is not transmitted directly from person to person.  Dengue Fever is not endemic or common to Hawaii and the source or origin of this outbreak is likely due to an introduction of the virus by a person who may have contracted the virus while in another area of the world and who became infectious while in Hawaii.

Because the only mode or method of transmission is through mosquito bites there are actions being taken to reduce the risks and include the spraying or treating of areas of high mosquito presence that are also areas of possible contact with infected people. This includes areas around residents of confirmed cases.

Although spraying or treating of areas is ongoing, the most effective method of reducing the spread and possibly eliminating Dengue is to minimize or prevent the possibility of being bitten by an infected mosquito.  Wearing clothing that minimizes exposed skin, use of mosquito repellant and avoiding activities in areas of high mosquito concentration during the early morning and late afternoon periods when mosquito activity is greatest.  In addition, persons feeling ill and having a fever should remain indoors to prevent the possibility of being bitten and infecting mosquitoes.

Public Information Meetings will be held at the following locations:

  • Tonight Monday November 9th at the Yano Hall in Kona
  • Tomorrow Tuesday November 10th at the Naalehu Community Center
  • Thursday November 12th at the Konawaena High Cafeteria
  • Friday November 13th at the Hohokaa High Cafeteria
  • Monday November 16th at the Hilo High Cafeteria
  • Tuesday November 17th at the Keaau High Cafeteria

All meetings will begin at 6:00 PM each evening and the community is encouraged to attend.

For additional information on Dengue Fever and preventing the spread of Dengue Fever, go to health.hawaii.gov or call the Department of Health at 974-4000, extension 68362.