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Court Orders Hawaii’s Insurance Commissioner to Take Over Family Health Hawaii

Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito today announced that Family Health Hawaii, MBS (“FHH”), was ordered into liquidation.  The order was signed by State First Circuit Court Judge Karen T. Nakasone.

Click to read the liquidation order

Click to read the liquidation order

The order authorizes Commissioner Ito to take possession and control of FHH’s assets as the Liquidator and assume the powers of the company’s directors and officers for the protection of policyholders, creditors, and the public.  The Order of Liquidation is effective immediately.

Health insurance companies in Hawaii are required to meet statutory solvency requirements which include maintaining minimum net worth to ensure that they are able to meet their obligations.  FHH’s 2015 annual filings revealed that the company is below the minimum level required by law with no prospects of making up the deficit.  FHH had been working with the State’s examination team prior to the 2015 annual filing but had missed several key deadlines.

“This is a regrettable situation. However, once we determined the degree of the existing financial hazard, the decision was made to protect the policyholders and creditors,” said Commissioner Ito. “Falling below statutory solvency requirements compelled this liquidation action.  Further delay would only increase the risk of loss and jeopardize FHH’s policyholders’ access to healthcare and providers under their plans.”

The Insurance Division is working to ensure that all employer groups are notified and transitioned off of FHH group plans in an expeditious fashion.   Employer groups should contact their insurance broker or account management for assistance with the transition of coverage to a new insurer. For more information and assistance, employer groups and healthcare providers can call (855) 206-3277.

Employer groups can also contact HMSA, Kaiser, UHA and HMAA. These insurers are committed in assisting these groups in this difficult time.  Contact numbers for these insurers are:

HMSA         (808) 948-5555
KAISER       (808) 432-5237
UHA            (808) 532-4009     Toll Free  (800) 458-4600, Ext. 301
HMAA         (808) 591-0088     Toll Free  (800) 621-6998

Family Health Hawaii currently insures approximately 420 employer group plans, and does not provide individual plans.

More information will be provided by the Insurance Division on the claims process throughout the liquidation proceedings. For any other questions, please call (844) 717-7334 or visit www.familyhealthhawaii.com for FAQs. Hawaii consumers can call Hawaii Insurance Division’s Health Branch at (808) 586-2804 or visit www.cca.hawaii.gov/ins/ for FAQs.

More information is available at the following links:

Liquidation Order:

Frequently Asked Questions:

2016 Q1 Small Group Rate Comparison:

Hokulea Crew Visits NASA Kennedy Space Center

Continuing their journey of connecting ocean wayfinding with space exploration, Hokulea crewmembers visited Florida’s NASA Kennedy Space Center today and engaged with the center’s staff. Polynesian Voyaging Society president and pwo navigator Nainoa Thompson also took the opportunity to speak to the NASA team on Hawaii-born NASA astronaut Lacy Veach’s contribution to space voyaging, and how Veach inspired the canoe’s Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

NASA Hokulea

“Coming to NASA for me has been an amazing celebration,” Thompson expressed during his speech today to a crowd of about 160 people that included both Hokulea and NASA crew. “I made a promise to Lacy back in ’95 when we lost him, that we’re going to go. It took us 22 years from the idea to actually leave, to get prepared to do something as dangerous as what we’re doing now. Lacy is our navigator on this voyage, and for that, this is the most important two days for me.”

NASA Hokulea Nainoa

Yesterday, the crew honored Veach along with Ellison Onizuka, another Hawaii-born astronaut for their extraordinary contributions to space voyaging, in an intimate ceremony onboard the canoe. Hokulea crewmembers conducted a star compass activity with local students, and pwo navigator Bruce Blankenfeld led a navigation presentation for the public visiting the center. Wednesday’s activities also included a tour of the NASA headquarters: Hokulea crewmembers visited the facilities where astronauts would get suited up before their flights, NASA’s vehicle assembly building and the launch control center.

Nasa Hokulea Building

Hokulea is scheduled to depart Titusville on Friday, April 8, and continue her journey up the east coast. For the most up-to-date schedule, visit http://www.hokulea.com/hokuleas-planned-east-coast-port-stops/.

To follow the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, visit http://hokulea.com/track-the-voyage

UH Hilo School of Nursing Accreditation Renewed

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo School of Nursing was recently awarded full reaccreditation for its Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN) program by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
UH Hilo Moniker“A full 8-year accreditation for our nursing school is a wonderful accomplishment,” said Director Katharyn “Kay” Daub. “I’m especially pleased that we were commended for our value in the educational pipeline with the expansion of our RN to BSN program.”

The announcement followed last October’s site visit when a review team met with the School’s administrators, students, hospital staff, faculty and community members. Daub said the team was impressed by the students and overwhelmed by the support of the advisory board and UH Hilo administration. She applauded the faculty‘s work on the rigorous self-study report, which led one reviewer to describe the curriculum alignment with American Nurses Association standards as the best that they had reviewed.

The ACEN accreditation process provides for the maintenance and enhancement of educational quality through continuous self-assessment, planning, and improvement. The next review is scheduled for Fall 2023.

ChefConnect: Hawaii – American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) Central and Western Region Awards

Chefs, students and food service professionals from the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) Central and Western regions gathered for professional development and culinary trend seminars at ChefConnect: Hawaii. The conference took place at Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Waikoloa Beach, Hawaii, April 3-5.

Chef Connect HawaiiConference topics included honey varietals and beekeeping, Hawaiian poke, food pairings, beef trends and the processes behind growing vanilla. Attendees enjoyed hands-on workshops, culinary demonstrations and networking opportunities.

Presenters included Alan Wong, HHOF, renowned master of Hawaii Regional Cuisine and owner, Honolulu-based Alan Wong’s Restaurants; chef Lee Anne Wong, owner, Koko Head Café, Honolulu;and Bryan Fujikawa, owner/chef, Sun Dried Specialties, Kealakekua, Hawaii. For a full list of presenters, visit www.acfchefs.org/EventSeries.

Regional awards were presented to Central and Western region chefs and students during the conference. The following ACF award winners have the opportunity to earn their respective national titles at Cook. Craft. Create., Phoenix, July 15-19.

ACF Central Region Chef Educator of the Year – Christopher Misiak, CEC, CCE, program coordinator/instructor, Schoolcraft College, Livonia, Michigan; ACF Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association

ACF Western Region Chef Educator of the Year – Cheryl Lewis, CCC, CCE, chef instructor, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas, Las Vegas; ACF Chefs Las Vegas

ACF Central Region Hermann G. Rusch Chef’s Achievement Award – Thomas Elkin, CEC, AAC, culinary instructor, St. Louis Community College, St. Louis; Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis Inc

ACF Western Region Hermann G. Rusch Chef’s Achievement Award – Bobby Moghaddam, CEC, CCE, AAC, director, hospitality and culinary arts, Riverside City College Culinary Academy, Riverside, California; ACF Southern CA Inland Empire Chefs & Cooks Association

ACF Central Region Dr. L.J. Minor Chef Professionalism Award, sponsored by Minor’s® – Kenneth Thompson, CEC, CCA, chef/instructor, Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Illinois; ACF Louis Joliet Chapter

ACF Western Region Dr. L.J. Minor Chef Professionalism Award, sponsored by Minor’s® – Anthony Danna, CEC, AAC, executive chef, Astor House at Springbrook Oaks, Newberg, Oregon; ACF Pro Chefs Oregon

ACF Central Region Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl, sponsored by American Technical Publishers and Vitamix – Students representing Kendall College, Chicago

ACF Western Region Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl, sponsored by American Technical Publishers and Vitamix – Students representing Utah Valley University Culinary Arts Institute, Orem, Utah

ACF Central Region Chef of the Year, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions – Patrick Mitchell, CEC, AAC, executive chef/culinary adviser, Ben E. Keith Foods, Fort Worth, Texas; Texas Chefs Association

ACF Western Region Chef of the Year, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions – Lenard Rubin, CEC, executive chef, The Country Club at DC Ranch, Scottsdale, Arizona; ACF Chef’s Association of Arizona, Inc.

ACF Central Region Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by Plugrá® European-Style Butter – Jan Lewandowski, CEPC, lead baking instructor, Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute, Little Rock, Arkansas; ACF Central Arkansas Cooks Association

ACF Western Region Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by Plugrá® European-Style Butter – Andrew Corrao, CCC, CEPC, banquet/pastry chef, Bambara Restaurant, Salt Lake City; ACF Beehive Chefs Chapter Inc.

ACF Central Region Student Chef of the Year, sponsored by Custom Culinary® – Shayne McCrady, sauté cook/line cook, The Gatesworth at One McKnight Place, St. Louis; Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis Inc

ACF Western Region Student Chef of the Year, sponsored by Custom Culinary® – Michelle Stephenson, student, Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah; ACF Beehive Chefs Chapter Inc.

ACF Central Region Student Team Regional Championship, sponsored by Vitamix – Students representing ACF Greater Kansas City Chefs Association that attend Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kansas

ACF Western Region Student Team Regional Championship, sponsored by Vitamix – Students representing ACF Bay Area Chefs Association of Oregon that attend Oregon Coast Culinary Institute, Coos Bay, Oregon

ChefConnect: Hawaii award recipients in ACF’s Central and Western regions listed below were recognized for their outstanding contributions to ACF, goodwill in their communities and/or culinary excellence.

ACF Central Region Chapter of the Year – ACF Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association; Bolingbrook, Illinois

ACF Western Region Chapter of the Year – ACF Pro Chefs Oregon; McMinnville, Oregon

ACF Central Region Chapter Achievement Awards –

  • ACF Chefs of Northwest Indiana; Schererville, Indiana
  • ACF Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association; Bolingbrook, Illinois
  • Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis Inc; St. Louis

ACF Western Region Chapter Achievement Awards:

  • ACF Pro Chefs Oregon; McMinnville, Oregon
  • ACF World of Thanks
  • ACF Kona-Kohala Chefs Association; Kailua Kona, Hawaii
  • ACF Central Region Cutting Edge Awards, sponsored by Friedr. Dick Corp.
  • Michael Vlasich, CEC, AAC, executive chef, Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, Indianapolis; ACF Greater Indianapolis Chapter
  • Jack Mix, owner/chef, Comfort’s Catering, St. John, Indiana; ACF Chefs of Northwest Indiana

ACF Central Region Achievement of Excellence Awards:

  • Alpine Inn; Hill City, South Dakota
  • Redstone American Grill; Minnetonka, Minnesota

More than 350 chefs, students and foodservice professionals attended ChefConnect: Hawaii. The conference was part of ACF’s Signature Series, which provides educational and networking opportunities for culinary industry professionals and students. Learn more about the conference atwww.acfchefs.org/EventSeries, on Twitter @ACFChefs, #ChefConnect or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ACFChefs.

Sponsors of ChefConnect: Hawaii were: Custom Culinary®; Minor’s®; Unilever Food Solutions; NEWCHEF Fashion Inc; Plugrá® European-Style Butter; Vitamix; Ecolab; Allen Brothers; Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board; American Technical Publishers; Don Miller & Associates, Inc. (DM&A); Par-Way Tryson Company; The Beef Checkoff; Jones Dairy Farm; and Valrhona.

About the American Culinary Federation

The American Culinary Federation, Inc. (ACF), established in 1929, is the standard of excellence for chefs in North America. With more than 17,500 members spanning nearly 200 chapters nationwide, ACF is the leading culinary association offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation. In addition, ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States, with the Certified Executive Chef®, Certified Sous Chef®, Certified Executive Pastry Chef® and Certified Culinary Educator® designations accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. ACF is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions, and to the Chef & Child Foundation, founded in 1989 to promote proper nutrition in children and to combat childhood obesity. For more information, visit www.acfchefs.org. Find ACF on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ACFChefs and on Twitter @ACFChefs.

12th Annual Hilo Huli

The Rotary Club of South Hilo will be celebrating its 12th Annual Hilo Huli on May 1, 2016 on Coconut Island from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. The Hilo Huli is the Rotary Club of South Hilo’s main fundraising event, with over 1000 people in attendance every year.

hilo huli

“The club brings together the cuisine of local chefs, award winning music, as well as a variety of wine, beer and mix drink offerings to create an all you can eat event that helps raise much needed funds to support our local community. It’s a fantastic way to have a really great time while helping uplift the life of our community,” said Rotary Club of South Hilo President, Kim Arakawa.

To date the Rotary Club of South Hilo’s Hilo Huli has raised over $200,000 used to serve needs in our local community, as well as international projects.

The money raised from this year’s event will help the Rotary Club of South Hilo support a variety of community projects throughout East Hawai‘i including the Obstetrics & Pediatric Unit Renovations (Hilo Medical Center), Hospice of Hilo’s Children’s Bereavement Program and Hilo Bayfront Trails.

“We’re so grateful for all the work the Rotary Club of South Hilo does to make sure our community is a great place to live, and we are so honored to be chosen as one of the beneficiaries of the Hilo Huli,” said Hospice of Hilo CEO, Brenda S. Ho.

Tickets for the event are $50.00 in advance and $65.00 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased online or from Aiona Car Sales, The Most Irresistible Shop in Hilo, Short & Sweet, and any Rotary Club of South Hilo member, www.hilohuli.org or call 808-930-3609.

Holland Man Missing in Volcanoes National Park Located

A man from Holland who was missing overnight from Kūlanaokuaiki Campground in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Tues., April 5 has been located.

Volcano Rainbow

Gerrit Voortis, 63, and his wife, were camping at Kūlanaokuaiki, a campground located off Hilina Pali Road Tuesday afternoon. Voortis left his wife to go on a short hike by himself, and did not bring water, a phone, or a backpack with him. Park dispatch was notified by another concerned camper when he failed to return later that afternoon. Neither a County of Hawai‘i helicopter pilot nor the park’s search-and-rescue (SAR) team could locate him by nightfall. The SAR team continued to search for him on the ground until 10 p.m.

Around 6:30 the next morning, Wed., April 6, the park’s contracted helicopter pilot spotted a glow from a small fire, and located the man northeast of the campground. The pilot landed, and search-and-rescue rangers treated him for dehydration. Voortis was in good condition, but was cold, hungry and very thirsty. The small fire he built for warmth the night before was extinguished by park rangers.

Voortis and his wife were reunited at the park’s Visitor Emergency Operations Center Wednesday morning, and both expressed gratitude for the efforts made in his rescue.

“It’s extremely important to be prepared when going on any hike, whether it’s a short walk, or an extended trek into the backcountry,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.  “Plan ahead, research the area, and always have plenty of water,” he said. A detailed checklist of safety tips is provided on the park website.

Hawaii Department of the Attorney General Holds Auction of Seized and Forfeited Property

A public auction of property seized and forfeited to the State of Hawaii will be held on April 9, 2016 in the Pikake Room at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center.

auctionAmong the property being auctioned are multiple vehicles, including:

  • 2011 Kia Rio 4 door sedan;
  • 2010 Dodge Dakota Crew Cab 4×4 pickup truck;
  • 2006 BMW 325i 4 door sedan;
  • 2005 Mercedes E500 4 door sedan;
  • 2003 Hummer H2 SUV;
  • 2003 Lincoln Navigator SUV
  • Three sport bikes;
  • One Harley Davidson motorcycle; and
  • Other vehicles.

Other property to be sold includes, among other things:

  • Flat screen monitors and televisions;
  • Surveillance equipment;
  • Jewelry (including Ming);
  • Collectible coins and currency;
  • One vintage Rolex watch; and
  • Various electronics and other miscellaneous property.

The property to be auctioned may be inspected starting at 11:00 a.m. on April 9th. The auction, conducted by Rosen Auctions, will begin at noon the same day. For a list of the property, visit www.rosenauctions.com.

The auction is the result of ongoing efforts by state and county law enforcement agencies to fight crime by seizing and forfeiting assets used or acquired in connection with criminal activities. Assets that were used in, or obtained from, the commission of certain criminal offenses can be seized and forfeited under the state’s asset forfeiture law. Taking away the tools criminals use to commit crimes and the profits from those crimes is one way to deter and impede criminal conduct. Proceeds from this auction will be used by state and county law enforcement agencies to combat crime.

Employees (and their immediate family members) of county police departments, county prosecuting attorney’s offices, and the Department of the Attorney General are not eligible to purchase forfeited property.

Anyone having information about individuals who are profiting from criminal activity should call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 955-8300.

Hawaii Island Extended Furlough Inmate Fails to Check in at Facility

Extended furlough inmate Michael Joyce failed to report to the Hawaii Community Correctional Center (HCCC) for his scheduled check-in.  State Sheriffs and Hawaii Police were notified.

michael Joyce

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

Joyce is serving time for Assault 2.  Escape 2 is expected to be added to his charges. His next parole hearing was scheduled for June 2016.

60-year old Joyce is classified as community custody which is the lowest custody level. He is 5’6” tall and weighs 150 lbs. He has brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone who sees Joyce is urged to call 911.

Big Island Dog in Running for American Humane Association Hero Dog Award

A Big Island of Hawaii canine is in the running for a American Humane Association Hero Dog Award.

Arson Dog Kaimi

Arson Dog Kaimi

Kaimi’s handler writes:

As Kaimi’s handler and partner for the last 8 years I have had the privilege to work with such an amazing K9 partner. In 2008 Kaimi became the first Arson K9 in the State of Hawaii and continues to serve the state by fighting the crime of arson statewide. Kaimi has worked hundreds of fires where he has assisted investigators to determine the origin and cause of all types of fires (structure, wildland & vehicles) and has been key in the conviction of arsonists in Hawaii.

In one case Kaimi traced the presence of ignitable liquids from the fire scene to the neighbors residence, where he found the presence of ignitable liquids on the neighbor. After laboratory analysis it was confirmed that the ignitable liquids were all consistent and that the neighbor was guilty of the crime. Kaimi and I travel thousands of miles from Hawaii to the Mainland every year for our annual recertification.

Kaimi also loves children and does numerous public education events & demonstrations to teach children about fire safety and prevention. He has also partnered with organizations to help fight animal hunger in Hawaii County. Kaimi is an amazing partner and one of Hawaii’s Heroes! I humbly ask for your vote!

To vote for Kaimi you can click here (voting begins May 12th, 2016): American Humane Association Hero Dogs: Kaimi

For millions of Americans, animals are not just their best friends, but their heroes. Whether they are lending eyes to the unsighted, ears to the deaf, protection to the sleeping family and the soldier, or providing a welcoming kiss at the end of a hard day, animals affect us in so many different ways. Behind almost every hero pet (and millions more animals) is a hero veterinarian or hero veterinary technician. These often little-known benefactors save and improve the lives of our two- and four-legged best friends in many ways, and the American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, presented by Zoetis, honor their achievements.

Pet owners and animal lovers alike are invited to nominate their favorite veterinary professionals who are dedicated to the betterment of the health and welfare of animals and the promotion of the human-animal bond. The winning veterinarian and veterinary technician will be flown to Los Angeles to be honored as part of the fifth annual American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™, which will be taped for a national television broadcast on Hallmark Channel later in the fall. These awards are not limited to companion animal veterinarians. Professionals from all fields of veterinary medicine are eligible for entry including, but not limited to those who work in: research, emergency services, shelters, and those who work with large and exotic animals.

American Humane Association is the country’s first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Since 1877, American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting our most vulnerable from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org today.

Shipman, Kurtistown Park Will be Closed April 14 for Fumigation Treatment

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation will close both the Herbert Shipman Park pavilion in Kea‘au and the Kurtistown Park pavilion on Thursday, April 14, to perform fumigation treatments.

Shipman Park

Other park areas, including ball fields, outdoor athletic courts and parking areas, will remain open. Both pavilions will be available for public use starting at 6 a.m. Friday, April 15.

The Department of Parks and Recreation apologizes for any inconvenience the temporary closures may cause and thanks park patrons for their understanding while works to maintain the recreational sites.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Hawaii DLNR to Hold Public Information Meeting on Draft Environmental Assessment for Keauhou Bay Offshore Moorings

The Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) will hold a public informational meeting on Friday April 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Kealakehe High School cafeteria, to discuss the Draft Environmental Assessment for the proposed Keauhou Bay Offshore Moorings project.

Keauhou Project

The proposed project involves the replacement of the existing nine (9) unpermitted offshore moorings in the bay with 16 new permitted offshore moorings as well as two proposed alternatives.  The purpose of the meeting will be to present the proposed Alternatives introduced in the Draft Environmental Assessment and allow the public to provide input and feedback on the proposed alternatives. The document can be found online at http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/Environmental_Notice/current_issue.pdf

Kealakehe High School Cafeteria is located at 74-5000 Puohulihuli Street, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

78 UH Hilo Vulcan Athletes Honored on National Student-Athlete Day

On National Student-Athlete Day, the University of Hawaii at Hilo recognizes 78 Vulcan student-athletes for their academic, athletic and community service excellence.
National Student Athlete DayCreated by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports in 1987, student-athletes must earn a 3.0 grade point average or higher while engaging in community service.

This year’s recipients include:

Baseball (11) – Micah Carter, William Cleary, Nathan Green, Jacob Grijalva, Reece Kato, Jaron Manago, Timothy Mendonca, Sean Nearhoof, Jonathan Segovia, Phillip Steering, Morgan West

Women’s Basketball (9) – Alia Alvarez, Lauren Hong, Alexa Jacobs, Pilialoha Kailiawa, Felicia Kolb, Sydney Mercer, Kimberly Schmelz, Keani Shirai, Patience Taylor

Cross Country (4) – Riley Arroyo, Crsytal-Lynn Baysa, Anna Mikkelson, Kaylee Rapoza

Women’s Golf (5) – Shannon Abarra, Shantel Antonio, Andi Igawa, Keely Kitamura, Kristen Sawada

Men’s Golf (4) – Kyeton Littel, Conor Morley, Casey Tamura, David Tottori

Men’s Soccer (11) – Max Darris, Andrew Dawrs, Juan David Diaz Casallas, Cassidy Dixon, Tyler Hoffman, Trenton Hooper, Joshua Jasper, Anton Lund, Omar Machado, Zachary Solarte, George Wakefield

Women’s Soccer (11) – Kailah Buchanan, Kayla Clarke, Kahri Golden, Annabel Gonzalez, Meghan Langbehn, Nicole Rascon, Kayela Santiago, Alexa Smiley, Danika Steele, Leighana Weaver, Abcde Zoller

Softball (11) – Angela Aguinaga, Billi Derleth, Cyanne Fernandez, Bailey Gaspar, Brittany Huff, Mari Kawano, Cristina Menjivar, Stephanie Pasco, Danielle Pulido, Maria Steadmon, Danielle Wilson

Men’s Tennis (4) – Stefan Coney, Ryuta Ogawa, Kainoa Rosa, Ryan Torio

Women’s Tennis (3) – Trixie Croad, Bianca Novotna, Chelsea Sato

Volleyball (5) – Trixie Croad, Siera Green, Mariya Heidenrich, Marley Strand-Nicolaisen, Kyndra Trevino-Scott

Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail Established – Birding Festival in September

Birders and nature lovers will find it easier to locate birds on Hawaii Island later this year thanks to the creation of the Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail (HICCBT).

The 90-mile trail will cross Hawaii Island from Kona on the west coast to Hilo on the east coast linking varied habitats from ocean to mountain top, from rainforest to lava plains. The trail, modeled after similar North American trails, follows a route that is a network of sites so users can join or leave the route at any point along the way. While birds will be the focal points, elements of Hawaii Island’s unique plants and trees, geology, history and, of course, scenic view points, will be highlighted.

A team of Hawaii Island volunteers with knowledge of the island’s birdlife and natural history created the trail project. The team also includes travel industry marketing professionals, logistics experts, and interpretive planning specialists. A number of government and nonprofit organizations have expressed interest in the development of the trail and will be included in planning efforts as the volunteer team moves forward.

“Hawaii Island is a worldwide treasure combining both endemic species and introduced birdlife from five continents. We want to make sure people in Hawaii and around the world have the tools and accurate information to experience these wonders in a way that is safe, and culturally and environmentally appropriate,” said Hawaii Forest & Trail owner and HICCBT Steering Committee member Rob Pacheco.

Birding Festival

To open the trail, HICCBT will host the inaugural Hawaii Island Festival of Birds on September 24 and 25 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. The Hawaii Island Festival of Birds program will include expert guest speakers including The Nature Conservancy’s Dr. Sam Gon III, a trade show for outdoor and birding equipment, a children’s corner, bird-themed arts and crafts fair, photography and painting workshops, time to interact with Hawaii Island naturalists and bird experts and guided field trips on land and sea.

Festival sponsors include Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Hawaii, Audubon Magazine, Hawaii Forest and Trail, Destination Marketing and others.

For more information log on to www.hawaiibirdingtrails.com.

Hawaii Senate Ways and Means Committee Proposes Fiscally Equitable Budget

The Senate Ways and Means (WAM) Committee today introduced and passed budget amendments in HB1700 HD1 SD1 that reflects the priorities facing our communities, yet broadly represents and addresses needs across the state.

Capital

The Governor’s operating budget proposed to add approximately $335 million in general funds for fiscal year 2016-2017.  The Senate draft reduced this amount by approximately $215 million in general funds, resulting in a total operating budget add of $120 million in general funds for fiscal year 2016-2017.  The Senate draft did not include 100% pre-funding of Other Post-Employment Benefits, which was included in the Governor’s draft, and amounted to approximately $163 million dollars.

“The Senate draft of the supplemental budget balances priority needs with existing resources, ensuring programs and services can be maintained over time,” said Sen. Jill Tokuda (Dist. 24 –Kane‘ohe, Kane‘ohe MCAB, Kailua, He‘eia, ‘Ahuimanu), WAM Committee chair.  “Our Committee once again identified ways to encourage efficiencies and better utilize base appropriations to do more with less, without unsustainably adding to our budget.”

The Senate draft reflects a significant investment in operating support for homeless programs, totaling over $7.3M.  These include the following:

  • $3,000,000 in general funds for the Housing First Program
  • $1,100,000 in general funds for Homeless Outreach Services
  • $2,000,000 in general funds for Rapid Re-housing Services
  • $450,000 in general funds for a new homeless shelter in Kakaako
  • $200,000 in general funds for a Stored Property Program

In addition, the Senate draft included operating and capital improvement projects to increase the supply of affordable housing statewide.  These include:

 Operating

  • $3,000,000 in general funds for the State Family and Elderly facilities’ operations, deferred maintenance, and repair.
  • (36) positions and $2,703,581 in revolving funds for the Multi-Skilled Worker Pilot Program in the Hawaii Public Housing Authority.  These funds will be used to repair vacant public housing units.
  • (29) positions and $1,125,584 in general funds for the Hawaii Public Housing Authority to issue more housing vouchers and secure additional federal funds.

Capital Improvements Projects

  • $29,150,000 in general funds and $6,000,000 in general obligation bond funds to the Hawaii Public Housing Authority
  • $50,000,000 in general obligation bond funds for the Rental Housing Trust Fund
  • $33,289,000 in general obligation bond funds for the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund

Working with the housing agencies in each county, an additional $59,612,000 in revolving funds was provided for shovel ready housing projects statewide, which will provide for the renovation of 850 current units and the creation of an additional 1,600 units for our communities.

The Senate draft also provides extensive support for hospitals and healthcare needs for the State, including:

Operating

  • $10,000,000 in general funds for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, to be used at the discretion of the Board in allocating to the regions as well as for any necessary seed capital for the Maui Health System
  • $7,900,00 in general funds for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation in order to meet the shortfall of the corporate allocation costs due to the Maui transition, which would have otherwise been assessed to the regions without additional funding support
  • $21,000,000 in general funds for an operating subsidy to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation to continue to provide healthcare services statewide

Capital Improvement Projects

  • $160,000,000 in general obligation bonds is provided for the Hawai‘i State Hospital for a new forensic facility to house the high-risk patients
  • $5,000,000 in general obligation bond funds for the purchase of two parcels owned by the Wahiawa Hospital Association, resulting in an immediate cash infusion ensuring greater financial stability for the hospital.  The intent is for the State to provide a long-term lease to the Wahiawa Hospital Association at a nominal rate.

 Other operating and capital improvement funding highlights include:

Department of Agriculture
Funding for efforts to support Hawai‘i farmers

Operating:

  • $500,000 in general funds for pesticide regulation expenses
  • (1) position and $98,800 in special funds for General Administration for the Farm to School Program

Capital Improvement Projects:

The Senate draft includes $107,074,000 in general obligation bond funds to purchase over 8,000 acres of agricultural land which will help support local farmers, decreasing Hawaii’s dependence on importing agricultural products and another $33,700,000 in general obligation bond funds for upgrades and improvements to water infrastructure systems statewide.

Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism
Funding for programs that are sustainable and bolster the economy

Operating:

  • $30,000 in general funds for repair and maintenance for the statewide film program for Creative Industries Division
  • $100,000 in general funds for Creative Industries Division for Creative Lab Program
  • $150,000 in general funds for unmanned aerial systems test site for Office of Aerospace Development
  • (1) temporary position and $100,000 in general funds for Hawaii broadband initiative
  • $5,000,000 in general funds and $5,000,000 in revolving funds for HI Growth initiative for Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation

Capital Improvement Projects:

Focused on reversing the brain drain, creating jobs, diversifying our economy, the Senate draft includes investments of $3,000,000 in general obligation bond funds to develop the Entrepreneur’s Sandbox in Kakaako, $5,200,000 in general obligation reimbursable bond funds to the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii in Kona, $6,000,000 in general obligation bond funds for infrastructure upgrades at Kalaeloa, and over $38,800,000 in general obligation bond funds for a Creative Media Facility at the University of Hawaii West Oahu.

Department of Defense
Funding to support and recognize Hawai‘i veterans

Operating:

  • (7) positions and $160,036 in general funds for multi-skilled worker team to provide services at the Hawaii State Veterans’ Cemetery
  • $500,000 in general funds for veterans’ memorials and commemoration events

Department of Education
Funding to provide student services support, transportation and libraries

 Operating:

  •  $10,000,000 in general funds for Weighted Student Formula for English Language Learners
  • $16,537,791 in general funds for Weighted Student Formula
  • $1,000,000 in general funds for classroom supplies and equipment for new facilities
  • $6,984,689 in general funds for Public School Transportation Services
  • $5,215,919 in general funds for Utilities
  • $200,000 in general funds for repair and maintenance backlog for public libraries statewide
  • Add $250,000 in general funds and $250,000 in special funds for Hawaii State Public Library System

 Capital Improvement Projects:

$358,175,000 in general obligation bond funds, $30,603,000 in federal funds and $4,349,000 in general funds for funding Department of Education projects including $30,000,000 in general obligation bond funds to address the cooling and air conditioning needs of public schools, $40,000,000 in general obligation bond funds for a new secondary school in Kapolei and $38,000,000 in general obligation bond funds for the continued construction costs for new high school in Kihei.

Office of the Governor

Funding to provide staff support

Operating:

(2) temporary positions and $300,000 in general funds for Office of Military Affairs and Federal Grants Maximization

Department of Human Services

Funding to ensure social safety nets and improve IT infrastructure for better service delivery

Operating:

  • $6,000,000 in general funds for Preschool Open Doors Program
  • $4,799,926 in general funds and $7,664,177 in federal funds for preventive adult dental benefits
  • $4,294,333 in general funds and $3,343,667 in federal funds for increased cost of Medicare Part B supplements
  • $4,878,120 in general funds and $5,721,880 in federal funds for services to Medicaid recipients through age 6 with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • $8,000,000 in general funds and $9,383,746 in federal funds for Medicaid recipients with chronic Hepatitis C infections
  • $1,553,559 in general funds and $1,775,971 in federal funds for increase in nursing home payments by the Data Resources Incorporated Rate
  • $5,905,962 in general funds and $17,717,886 in federal funds for Department Enterprise System maintenance and operations
  • $770,000 in general funds for A-Plus Program fee subsidies for employed low-income families
  • $3,196,346 in general funds and $17,714,682 in federal funds for information technology for the Department of Human Services

Department of Human Resources Development
Funding to increase effectiveness

Operating

$250,000 in general funds for workers’ compensation claims

Department of Health
Funding to support healthcare services, assist in fight against Dengue Fever, address Red Hill Consent Order

Operating:

  • (33) positions and $1,777,362 in general funds for the management of the dengue fever outbreak and newly emerging public health threats
  • (3) positions and $88,362 in general funds for Red Hill Administrative Order of Consent for Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch
  • $2,829,923 in general funds for the home and community based services waiver

Capital Improvement Projects:

To continue to provide quality healthcare services for our communities, $31,982,000 in general obligation bond funds and $19,704,000 in federal funds to address critical repairs and maintenance for health safety needs statewide.

Department of Labor and Industrial Relations
Funding to provide support to ensure protection of civil rights

Operating:

(1) position and $25,388 in general funds for Hawaii Civil Rights Commission

Department of Land and Natural Resources
Funding for protection of land and wildlife, small boat harbor access

Operating:

  • $3,000,000 in special funds from transient accommodation tax to Special Land and Development Fund for various programs
  • $1,700,000 in special funds from conveyance tax to Land Conservation Fund for land acquisition
  • $400,000 in special funds for beach restoration
  • $600,000 in general funds for wildfire contingency Aloha+ initiatives
  • $250,000 in general funds for endangered species management
  • $1,500,000 in general funds for United States Geographical Survey study on Hawaii streams
  • (18) positions and $617,544 in general funds for operation of small boat harbor facilities six days a week

Department of Public Safety
Funding to enhance safety enforcement

Operating:

$869,165 in general funds for the Department of Public Safety Administration building and State Narcotics Enforcement Division offices

Department of Taxation
Funding to reinforce ability to bring in revenues for the state

Operating:

  • (9) positions and $503,327 in general funds for Investigation Branch
  • (2) positions and $69,462 in general funds for Criminal Investigation Section
  • (1) position and $21,684 in general funds for Audit Branch Maui
  • (1) position and $21,684 in general funds for Audit Branch Hawaii
  • (1) position and $21,684 in general funds for Audit Branch Kauai

Department of Transportation
Funding to support requests that are sustainable and targeted

Operating:

Honolulu International Airport

  • $402,500 in special funds and $1,132,500 in federal funds for motor vehicle replacement
  • $252,500 in special funds and $682,500 in federal funds for motor vehicle replacement

Hilo International Airport

$580,000 in special funds for airport seating replacement

Kahului Airport

$402,500 in special funds and $1,132,500 in federal funds for motor vehicle replacement and other current expenses

Lihue Airport

$613,500 in special funds for routine maintenance contracts

Harbors Administration

$1,000,000 in special funds for pier and wharf insurance

Kauai Highways

$800,000 in special funds for replacement of bridge inspection equipment

Highways Safety

$517,000 in federal funds for highway safety improvement program flex funding

University of Hawai‘i
Funding to support UH Cancer Center, UH West Oahu

Operating:

  • $3,000,000 in general funds for University of Hawaii Cancer Center for faculty and administrative support
  • (4) positions and $197,604 in general funds for University of Hawaii, West Oahu Campus

Capital Improvement Projects:

Acknowledging the deferred maintenance and backlog of projects at our University of Hawai‘i  campuses, the Senate draft provides the funding for the full capital improvement request of the University and it’s Community Colleges by providing $224,925,000 in general obligation bond funds, $113,000,000 in revenue bond funds, and $5,750,000 in special funds and by granting the University of Hawai‘i revenue bond authority.

Hilo Center Suspends Mammograms Pending FDA Recertification

Hawaii Radiologic Associates, Ltd. (HRA) has suspended mammography operations at its Hilo Women’s Imaging Center as it goes through a U.S. Food and Drug Administration process for recertification of its mammography services. The FDA notified HRA that patients who had mammograms between June 30, 2014 and August 24, 2015 should be notified of the possibility of inaccurate tests.
mammogramEach patient is being notified by certified letter of the potential concern and urged to review mammograms with their health care provider to determine if a retest is required.

HRA will review mammograms taken during that timeframe, if requested, and when necessary perform another mammogram at its Kona facility at no charge to the patient. Patients can also go to other certified mammogram centers of their choosing; HRA will provide previous mammographic examinations to that facility for review.

HRA’s Hilo Women’s Imaging Center continues to provide breast ultrasounds, magnetic resonance Imaging (MRI), bone density tests and breast biopsies.

James Lambeth, M.D., president of HRA, said the FDA ordered the suspension of the Hilo center mammograms after random samples showed that mammograms performed on one of the units failed to meet standards and further investigation resulted in the Hilo program being decertified.

“Patients who had mammography at our Hilo center during that time should not take this lightly,” said Dr. Lambeth. “Those who receive our letter should contact their doctors immediately to review their exam and determine if a repeat exam is warranted.”

Patients can go to the HRA website at www.hirad.com for more information and FAQs.

HRA performed 12,000 mammograms during the period.

“We apologize for this apparent lapse in quality assurance at our Hilo Center,” said Dr. Lambeth. “We want to make very clear that our Kona facility is unaffected by the decertification.”

Dr. Lambeth added that HRA is aggressively pursuing recertification for its Hilo facility and hopes to complete all requirements and be fully functional within three months. Technicians and other staff are undergoing additional training.

Hawaii Robotics Teams Receive $45,000 From McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii

McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii donated $45,000 to the Hawaii robotics teams participating in the 2016 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in Hawaii Robotics Regional Competition, which took place on April 1 and 2 at the University of Hawaii Stan Sheriff Center in Manoa.

L-R: Stephanie Steuri, Robotics Competition emcee; Glenn Waki, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator; Victor Lim, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator; Lenny Klompus, Friends of Hawaii Robotics president; Shannon Scott, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii marketing consultant; Ed Yamamura, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator; Rafael Zayas, Robotics Competition emcee.

L-R: Stephanie Steuri, Robotics Competition emcee; Glenn Waki, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator; Victor Lim, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator; Lenny Klompus, Friends of Hawaii Robotics president; Shannon Scott, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii marketing consultant; Ed Yamamura, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator; Rafael Zayas, Robotics Competition emcee.

During the competition’s opening ceremony on Saturday, April 2, McDonald’s owner/operators presented a check for $45,000, which will be divided among the 26 competing Hawaii robotics teams. The five (5) Hawaii schools (Baldwin High School, Iolani School, Kapolei High School, Kealakehe High School, Waialua High School) that will be advancing to the FIRST World Championship competition in St. Louis, Mo. in April each received an additional $1,000 from McDonald’s.

“We are honored to continue our support of Hawaii’s robotics teams,” said Victor Lim, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator. “We are dedicated to helping our communities thrive, so it’s great to be able to lend a hand to help our local schools. To watch the students’ creativity and innovation come to life in these competitions is inspiring. Congratulations to all the schools that competed this year.”

The money was raised through a statewide fundraiser that ran from March 21 to 27 where McDonald’s donated $1 from every Egg McMuffin and Egg White Delight sandwich, and Egg McMuffin and Egg White Delight Extra Value Meal sold between 5 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Additionally, throughout the fundraising period, Hawaii teams conducted robot demonstrations at selected McDonald’s restaurants across the state. This was the fifth consecutive year that McDonald’s was the FIRST in Hawaii official breakfast sponsor, providing breakfast sandwiches to all participating teams.

“We are so very thankful for the overwhelming generosity of McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii in supporting the FIRST in Hawaii Robotics Regional Competition,” said Lenny Klompus, president of Friends of Hawaii Robotics. “This is the fifth consecutive year that McDonald’s has not only brightened our students’ morning with a delicious breakfast sandwich ahead of the competition, but most importantly they have helped our local robotics teams excel as a result of their ever-growing monetary donation. McDonald’s unwavering impact with this donation enables a generation of young leaders in our state to build innovation today, for tomorrow.”

FIRST is a national organization that joins students, teachers and mentors to inspire youth interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to pursue careers in these fields. Students are able to work directly with professionals, gaining first-hand knowledge of the industry. FIRST combines the competitiveness of sports with the rigors of science and technology to engage young people to solve problems in an intense and competitive way.

House Hawaiian Affairs Chairman Responds to Governor’s Proposal to Fund Department of Hawaiian Homelands

Capital

Rep. Kaniela Ing ((Kihei, Wailea, Makena) today issued the following statement:

“The Governor’s DHHL appropriation message to the legislature represents a huge first step in meeting the state’s constitutional obligation to native Hawaiians. Now the legislature needs to do its job and ensure DHHL’s operations and maintenance costs are covered so that from now on the proceeds from the trust funds are used solely for putting native Hawaiians back on the land.This appropriation also represents a test for DHHL as the public money being used for these new positions will all be a matter of public record and must be reported back to the legislature. This additional funding needs to be attached to a clear timeline of hard outcomes to reduce the waitlist and restore native Hawaiians to the land.”

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Announces April Flight Plans

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park announces the following upcoming flight plans for April 2016:

  • April 8, 18, 21, 25 and 28, between 6 a.m. and noon, to shuttle crew, camp supplies, fencing material and equipment to Mauna Loa at about 9,000-ft. elevation.
  • April 8, between 7 a.m. and noon, to shuttle crew and camp supplies between Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road) and the northwest area of Kahuku for vegetation monitoring.
  • April 18, between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., to shuttle crew to/from the western area of Kahuku around 7,500-ft. elevation for vegetation monitoring.
  • April 19, between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. for ungulate surveys and control work in Kahuku between 3,000- and 7,000-ft. elevation.

In addition, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory may conduct flight operations over Kīlauea and Mauna Loa to assess volcanic activity and maintain instrumentation.

crater 4416

The park regrets any noise impact to residents and park visitors. Dates and times are subject to change based on aircraft availability and weather.

Management of the park requires the use of aircraft to monitor and research volcanic activity, conduct search-and-rescue missions and law enforcement operations, support management of natural and cultural resources, and to maintain backcountry facilities.

Prince Dance Institute Celebrates 10 Years at the Kahilu Theatre

Saturday, April 16, at 7PM, and Sunday, April 17, at 4PM, Prince Dance Institute celebrates 10 years of performing at the Kahilu Theatre with Deca:Dance. Close to 100 local performers from the Prince Dance Institute, ages five to adult, amateur to professional will come together in this multi-media dance performance and relive the most popular dance pieces from the last nine years in the retrospective show.

deca dance

Photo by Evan Bordessa

Founded in 2006 by Angel Prince, Prince Dance Institute (PDI) teaches a wide range of dance and movement classes at the Kahilu Theatre. Initially starting with only two students, PDI has grown significantly over the last decade and now has over 100 students of all ages enrolled in its after-school classes. Classes offered include contemporary dance, hip-hop and break dancing, hula, and more.

Over the last 10 years, Prince Dance Institute has created nine original theatrical dance shows combining contemporary dance with narration, video, and live music. The majority of those shows center around environmental topics such as sustainability, renewable resources, clean water, locally sourced food, and the importance of forests. “The idea of using art as a platform for greater good is not a new concept, but is something that I think that still holds great importance in our world today. Using dance and theatre as a medium for this cause is both educational and entertaining,” said Angel Prince, Artistic Director of Prince Dance Institute.

PDI will be welcoming back former dancers from past shows to reprise their roles in Deca:Dance. Among the returning dancers performing in this year’s show include Mimi and Brian Kerley, Kanoa Withington, Lia Cain, Erin Kawakami, Angel Prince, and Elizabeth McDonald. Playing live music on the Theatre’s new Steinway piano will be Everett Knowles and there will be video projection by several local video artists. Designer, and long-time Prince Dance Institute collaborator, Emily Leucht has also created over 150 costumes for this performance.

With choreography by Angel Prince, Lynn Barre, Elizabeth McDonald, Kai Webber, and Leia Lawrence, and exciting and eclectic music from Phillip Glass to Lordes, this performance will be both high energy and visually stimulating.

Deca:Dance will also play for local schools and children in two youth Shows on Wednesday, April 13th. For more information about the Youth Shows offered at the Theatre please contact Education Coordinator Lisa Shattuck at youth@kahilutheatre.org.

The Kahilu Theatre doors open at 6pm for the Saturday performance and at 3pm for the Sunday performance. There will also be food and beverages available for sale. The Art Off The Wall exhibit will be showing in the Kohala Gallery.

Tickets are $32 / $27 / $22 / $16 and available for purchase online at www.kahilutheatre.org, by calling (808) 885-6868, or at the Kahilu Theatre Box Office, at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, Kamuela, HI 96743, Monday-Friday, from 9am to 1pm.

HFD Incident Report on Today’s Fire in Hilo

Hawaii Fire Department Incident Report: News release for a structure fire on Mililani Street in Hilo today.

Mililani House Fire

Type of Incident: Structure Fire

Situation Found at Scene: First HFD Unit arrived on scene found an unoccupied residential structure fully engulfed in flames.

Cause: Under investigation.

Remarks: HFD Units extinguished an unoccupied residential structure fire. Initially, the fire threatened a residence on Manono Street, but two crews were able to protect that residence by using tactical attack lines. HPD Units provided scene control and setup roadblocks at the Piilani Street/Mililani Street intersection and also at the Hualani Street/Mililani Street intersection.