Governor Abercrombie Submits Supplemental Budget to State Legislature

In compliance with Article VII, Section 9, of the Hawaii Constitution, the Abercrombie Administration today submitted its Executive Supplemental Budget for Fiscal Biennium 2013-2015 and updated Program and Financial Plan for 2013-2019 to the state Legislature.

2014 Abercrombie Budget

“The supplemental budget and plan continue responsible management of state fiscal affairs in order to build upon the $1.1 billion turnaround our state has achieved,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “At the same time, we recognize that Hawaii’s improved fiscal position allows us to better address important issues such as early learning and development, support for our seniors, environmental protection, and homelessness. The supplemental budget provides an opportunity to navigate our economic environment for the maximum benefit of the people of Hawaii.”

The administration further committed to building the financial strength of the state by outlining in the plan a strategy to recapitalize state reserves to higher than pre-recession levels.

“We have set a targeted objective to build state reserves to 10 percent of general fund revenues,” said Kalbert Young, state finance director. “These reserves will allow the state to weather future economic downturns and mitigate against cyclical public service cutbacks.”

Accordingly, the Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund will receive $50 million in fiscal year 2014. The Hurricane Reserve Trust Fund will receive $50 million in fiscal year 2014, which is in addition to the $55.5 million in general excise tax revenues transferred this fiscal year, pursuant to Act 62, SLH 2011.

Through separate legislation, the administration will also be proposing the transfer of $50 million to each fund in fiscal year 2015. The estimated balance of Hawaii’s reserves after these transfers will be more than $372 million, or 5.6 percent of projected general fund revenues in fiscal year 2015 –already more than halfway to the 10 percent target.

Simultaneously, the state’s commitment to forward fund its Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) unfunded liability begins this fiscal year with a landmark payment of $100 million and, in fiscal year 2015, a payment of $117.4 million.

The supplemental budget continues to provide stimulus to the economy while still adhering to the optimized debt profile that has been achieved through proper management of the state’s long-term debt. The budget includes funding for an additional $351.7 million in new general obligation bond-funded capital improvement projects. The state will more appropriately address much needed repair and maintenance projects by converting $187.4 million in previously approved bond-funded expenditures to general funds. The budget also proposes to fund an additional $100 million in repair and maintenance in fiscal year 2015. By directing more bond funds to long-term assets and using general funds to address immediate and short-term repair and maintenance, the state continues its more fiscally prudent management of capital improvement projects.

In addition, the budget includes the following increased support for a variety of initiatives:

Investments in Hawaii’s Children

  • More than $5.4 million additional for early learning and development initiatives, a priority of the administration. Approximately $4.4 million of that would aid the Executive Office on Early Learning in working with the Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) to establish prekindergarten classes on DOE campuses, and $1 million would fund Family-Child Interaction Learning (FCIL) programs for family engagement for four-year-olds.
  • $2.5 million more proposed for Preschool Open Doors. The new voluntary program administered by the state Department of Human Services enhances access to school readiness services for 4-year-old children, with priority extended to underserved or at-risk keiki and those who are not eligible to attend public school kindergarten in the school year they turn 5 because their birth date occurs after the kindergarten eligibility date.

Support for Seniors

  • More than $4.5 million requested for programs that support older residents, of which $4.2 million is proposed for the Kupuna Care program and $427,937 for Adult Disability Resource Centers.

Environmental Preservation

  • An additional $40 million for conservation purposes at Turtle Bay, as proposed by the Turtle Bay working group last month. The working group was established by Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR164) during the 2013 legislative session and tasked with developing a conservation action plan to explore and identify conservation alternatives for the undeveloped portions of the Turtle Bay property and surrounding lands with conservation or historic value.

Other Investments

  • $1.5 million requested for the Housing First program to assist the most vulnerable of Hawaii’s homeless.
  • Ten positions and $1 million to expand Healthcare Transformation initiatives.
  • Restoration of eight positions and an additional $188,269 for the Hawaii Department of Agriculture within the department’s pesticides program.
  • $3.1 million for Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui’s R.E.A.C.H. Initiative for afterschool programs for middle and intermediate afterschool programs
  • Approximately $33.5 million to the University of Hawaii, whose Board of Regents committed a portion of such funds towards issuance of revenue bonds for addressing much needed repair and maintenance projects. This amount represents collectively bargained salaries for the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly salaries. But, instead of paying for the salaries out of the tuition special fund, which only affects tuition rates, the funds will free up resources so that the tuition fund remains stable and assists UH’s repair and maintenance $400 million backlog.

“Although there are many priority needs that must be addressed, fiscal sustainability is essential,”Young added. “This plan will allow the state to address its priority needs while positioning itself to best handle uncertainties, such as economic slowdowns or the recent federal government shutdown, by building up our reserves and exercising continued fiscal prudence.”

The Budget in Brief is available for download from the Department of Budget and Finance website, here: http://budget.hawaii.gov/budget/

 

Bikes and Tires Being Stolen at UH Hilo

Well it looks like we have someone targeting bikes on the campus of UH Hilo:

UH Hilo Moniker

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

13-0309 (Theft)

Report Status: Pending.

Location: Resident Hall Hale Kauanoe Bike Rack.

Time Reported: Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 7:21 PM.

Incident Occured Between: 3:02 AM and 3:21 AM on Friday, December 13, 2013.

Crime Details:
A resident of Hale Kauanoe reported that bike front and rear wheels were stolen from the Hale Kauanoe bike rack. Security and HPD responded and initiated a Theft Report.

Permalink: 13-0309

13-0308 (Theft)

Report Status: Pending.

Location: Resident Hall Hale Kehau Bike Rack.

Time Reported: Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 6:21 PM.

Incident Start: Friday, December 13, 2013 at 5:30 PM.

Incident End: Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 5:30 PM.

Crime Details:
A resident of Hale Kehau reported that bike seat and rear wheel were stolen from the Hale Kehau bike rack. Security and HPD responded and initiated a Theft Report.

Permalink: 13-0308

Friday, December 13th, 2013

13-0307 (Theft)

Report Status: Pending.

Location: College of Agriculture Bike Rack.

Time Reported: Friday, December 13, 2013 at 5:48 PM.

Incident Start: Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM.

Incident End: Friday, December 13, 2013 at 5:45 PM.

Crime Details:
A bike was stolen from the College of Agriculture bike rack. Security and HPD responded and generated a theft report.

Queen’s Health Systems and North Hawaii Community Hospital Enter Into Formal Affiliation

The Queen‘s Health Systems (Queen‘s), corporate parent of The Queen‘s Medical Center (QMC), announced today that it has officially entered into an affiliation agreement with North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH).

North Hawaii Community Hospital

North Hawaii Community Hospital

In the agreement, NHCH will become a corporate entity under Queen‘s, similar to QMC and Molokai General Hospital.

QMC has had a clinical affiliation with NHCH since 2005.

“Founded in 1859 by Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV, Queen‘s has served its mission of providing quality healthcare services for over 153 years,” said Art Ushijima, President & CEO of The Queen‘s Health Systems.  “We will now be able to dedicate ourselves to serving the people of North Hawaii with the same standard of excellence that has been the foundation of our founders‘ values and vision.”

Queen‘s, as part of its affiliation with NHCH, will work with NHCH to assess and address NHCH‘s immediate needs.

“Our priority is to create a relationship of cooperation and trust with NHCH and the people of North Hawaii,”  said Ushijima.  “Given NHCH‘s challenging financial situation, an immediate focus is to stabilize the hospital so that it may start to focus on programs and services for its growth and development—a process which was started under Ho‘okahua, NHCH‘s performance improvement program.”

The affiliation is expected to be effective January 1, 2014. Both Queen‘s and NHCH expect the transition to occur without any disruption of service to the community. The affiliation is subject to state approval.

“This affiliation represents a huge step forward in our ability to meet the healthcare needs of the community of North Hawaii and continue to deliver high quality healthcare at a reasonable cost. Having Queen‘s as our partner will improve every aspect of the hospital,”  said Bob Momsen, NHCH Board of Directors Chairman since 2008.

North Hawaii Community Hospital is a private, non-profit community hospital that serves more than 30,000 residents in North Hawaii. Located in Waimea (Kamuela), Hawaii Island, NHCH opened in May 1996. Its mission is to improve the health of the people of North Hawaii by improving access to care and providing high-quality services at a reasonable cost. NHCH is an acute-care hospital with 33 licensed beds, 24 hour emergency services, 376 employees, and 68 active physicians.

Further substance and status of the agreement are confidential.

 

2014 Waimea Ocean Film Festival Unveils Films, Filmmakers, Speakers and Special Guests

The 2014 Waimea Ocean Film Festival (Ocean Film) offers an exciting lineup of films, special guests, intimate coffee talks, Q&As, exhibits, receptions and morning activities, running non-stop January 2-10.

Waimea Ocean Film Festival 2014

The festival opens on January 2, with films playing simultaneously from January 2-5 at multiple venues in Waimea (Kahilu Theatre, HPA Gates, Parker Theatre), and showings at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i January 2-4. On January 6, the festival moves to Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, where Eddie Kamae will share a few songs after the opening night film.

The festival brings over 50 films to the big screen this year, most of which are world, U.S., Hawai‘i or Big Island premieres, and all of which are exceptional. On the cultural side, the festival weaves a rich offering, with films by Eddie and Myrna Kamae about the history, culture and music of the islands, a presentation by Hula Preservation Society with historical footage and dances and discussion by hula kupuna, and the showing of the 1951 remake of the 20th Century Fox film Bird of Paradise, with an introduction by local lead Queenie Dowsett.

In this vein, KGMB’s Brother’s Cazimero shares the story of this musical duo, with producer Phil Arnone and writer Robert Pennybacker in attendance to answer questions about the film. The Voyager Exhibit features the upcoming worldwide voyage of Hokule‘a, and will include an 8×13- foot map of the world, showing Hokule‘a planned route, along with interactive exhibits about life on the canoe, and the work of National Geographic photographer Nicholas DeVore III. The exhibit opens with a blessing and ceremony at Kahilu Theatre 4 p.m. January 2. ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center also joins the festival this year, with a presentation on Wayfinding, complete with star compass and a full-dome star show.

For inspiration, speaker and author Alan Cohen returns as one of the presenters in Finding Joe, to host a workshop on the Hero’s Journey. National Medal of Arts award recipient and composer Morten Lauridsen attends the festival this year along with the film about his life and work, Shining Night, and will accompany a local chorus in a performance of one or two of his pieces. And, Botso, a beautiful film about a music teacher who made his way to Morro Bay from Stalinist Georgia against all odds, is sure to warm the audience heart.

On the thought-provoking side, Hot Water, produced by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Don Rogers, explores the legacy of uranium mining in the west, including the possibility of our Fukushima-like event. Gasland 2, an equally compelling sequel to Academy Award-nominated Gasland, comes to the festival with director Josh Fox in attendance to talk about the film. The Last Ocean is a stunning film about the Ross Sea, and GMO OMG, Plastic Paradise, and More Than Honey all provide insight into the issues around us. For those who missed them, 2013 People’s Choice winners Chasing Ice and North of the Sun will also show one more time.

For adventure, the festival offers a heart-pounding and heart-warming selection of surf films, along with a slide presentation and exhibit by 1960s surf photographer and former Reyn’s CEO Tim McCullough. In partnership with Bruce Brown films, Ocean Film launches the 50th anniversary tour of The Endless Summer. And, local HPA graduate Alison Teal premieres the latest installments in her series Alison’s Adventures: Blue Duck Station and The Lost Island of the Firewalkers.

M. Sanjayan, an Emmy nominated news contributor and the lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy, returns to the festival to share a sneak preview of a star-studded series produced by James Cameron, The Years of Living Dangerously, which will be aired on Showtime in April. Dawn Lippert, who leads the Energy Excelerator, a program of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (PICHTR), joins the festival to talk about innovations in energy technology and investing in a clean energy future. The Crash Reel, directed by Academy Award-nominated director Lucy Walker (The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom), and currently under consideration for an Academy Award nomination, will have its Hawai‘i premiere at the festival.

Receptions include a high-octane, surf-themed opening night at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i on January 2 (1960s surf attire optional), leading into the launch of the 50th anniversary tour of The Endless Summer. The Taste of the Island January 5 at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel again features the culinary delights of many of the island’s top chefs and has grown into a festival highlight. And, new this year, the closing night reception at Four Seasons moves to Hoku Amphitheatre on January 10, for what promises to be a beautiful evening with island fare, music and film.

Selections and film synopsis from the 2014 film lineup include:

  • Alison’s Adventures: Blue Duck Station and Lost Island of the Firewalkers (USA/Alison Teal Blehert-Koehn*)
  • Botso (USA /Tom Walters*)
  • Brothers Cazimero (USA/Phil Arnone* and Robert Pennybacker*)
  • Energy Excelerator (USA/Dawn Lippert*)
  • Finding Joe (USA/Alan Cohen*)
  • Gasland 2 (USA/Josh Fox*)
  • GMO OMG (USA/Jeremy Seifert)
  • Good Morning Miyazaki (Canada/Matt Wescott)
  • Hot Water (USA/Lizabeth Rogers)
  • Jane’s Journey (Germany/Lorenz Knauer)
  • Li‘a: The Legacy of a Hawaiian Man (USA/Eddie Kamae*)
  • Sons of Hawai’i (USA/Eddie Kamae*)
  • Maverick Moments (USA/Rocky Romano*)
  • More than Honey (Germany/Markus Imhoof)
  • Ocean Frontiers (USA/Karen and Ralf Meyer)
  • Paniolo O’Hawaii (USA/Edgy Lee*)
  • Paradise Found (USA/ Tom Swartwout)
  • Queenie Dowsett: Spirit a Dancer (USA/Qweenie Dowsett*)
  • Red Gold (USA/Ben Knight)
  • Sea of Rock (Germany/Sebastian Doerk)
  • Serendipity (Australia/Simon Lamb)
  • Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen (Switzerland/Morten Lauridsen*)
  • Silver of the Sea (Norway/Are Pilskog)
  • Sine Qua Non (USA/Richard Yelland)
  • Snows of the Nile (USA/Neil Losin)
  • Bud Browne’s Surfing the 50s (USA/Anna Trent Moore*)
  • The Coral Reef (Spain/Pepe San Martin)
  • The Crash Reel (USA/Lucy Walker)
  • The Last Mountain (USA/Bill Haney)
  • The Last Ocean (New Zealand/Peter Young)
  • The Questions We Ask (Canada/Bruce Kirkby)
  • What If (Germany/Sebastian Doerk)

*Filmmakers attending Ocean Film and leading a discussion

Every January, this dynamic festival immerses participants in a greater understanding and awareness of the ocean and island culture through exceptional films, talks, exhibits and activities. Films fall into the basic categories of ocean experience (such as surfing and paddling); ocean environment—including things we do on land that impact the sea; and island culture. Inspirational films are also screened.

Participants can begin the day with sunrise yoga on the beach, power up with coffee at the morning talks and then head out for a day of thought-provoking film and discussion.

The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel is offering discounted room rates to festival pass holders from January 2-10. Starbucks awards a prize to Ocean Film attendees who complete the festival’s 20-Punch card, showing they attended 20 film or presentation blocks.

For the latest updates on films and speakers, follow the festival on Facebook, www.facebook.com/waimeaoceanfilmfestival, visit www.waimeaoceanfilm.org or email info@waimeaoceanfilm.org.

The full lineup of films and the complete festival program will be available to download at www.waimeaoceanfilm.org around December 21. Festival passes can be purchased via the website or at 808-854-6095. Kama‘aina/early rates are available in advance by contacting the festival office through December 21.

Shart Attack Victim Recovering on Oahu After Being Bitten in South Pacific

The victim of a shark attack is receiving medical treatment in Oahu after the Coast Guard conducted a long range medevac from the South Pacific Monday.

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew from Air Station Barbers Point traveled 2,386 miles to rendezvous with a fishing vessel for patient transfer. The Hercules aircrew consisted of a Kalawao Rescue in-flight care team including an emergency physician, 10 units of blood, medical supplies and medications.

A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew from Air Station Barbers Point traveled 2,386 miles to rendezvous with a fishing vessel for patient transfer. The Hercules aircrew consisted of a Kalawao Rescue in-flight care team including an emergency physician, 10 units of blood, medical supplies and medications.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center received notification Friday from the U.S. flagged vessel Friesland that a crewmember was in need of urgent medical care following a shark attack. The 35-year-old Portuguese national entered the water to untangle fishing net from a submerged object when he was attacked, suffering severe injury to his arm. The attack occurred 740 miles southeast of Tarawa Atoll in the Republic of Kiribati.

A Coast Guard flight surgeon was consulted and recommended the crew apply a tourniquet and treat for shock. An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew was launched from Air Station Barbers Point Sunday with a six member surgical team from Kalawao Rescue to conduct the medevac. Kalawao Rescue is a Hawaii-based disaster medical team that provides initial and follow-on medical response to major emergencies and disasters. They brought with them 10 units of blood, medical supplies and medications.

The Hercules flew 2,386 miles to Tarawa and waited for the patient who was flown to shore by helicopter. The patient was then transported to Oahu where he was transferred to awaiting emergency medical technicians in stable condition at Air Station Barbers Point Monday.

The Coast Guard regularly conducts long range medevac and missions across the Central and South Pacific. The HC-130H is scheduled to be replaced by the new HC-130J which will provide increased speed and mission capability to the Pacific region.

Hawaii Leads the Nation in Growing Its Ranks of Accomplished Teachers: 59 Hawaii Teachers Earn National Board Certification

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE), Kamehameha Schools and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) announced today that 59 teachers in Hawaii achieved National Board Certification this year, demonstrating that they have attained the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare students for 21st century success. Over the past three years, Hawaii has experienced the fastest growth in the number of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) in the nation and now has a total of 469 NBCTs.

DOE ReleaseTo date, more than 106,000 teachers in all 50 states and around the world have achieved National Board Certification, which is considered the highest mark of accomplishment in the profession. It includes a rigorous, performance-based, peer-review process similar to Board certification in fields such as medicine.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate the achievement of our new NBCTs,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Their achievement is not only a testament to their hard work, determination and impact on their students’ learning, it is a reflection of Hawaii’s strong commitment to supporting all teachers in their pursuit of National Board Certification.”

The State of Hawaii Teacher Standards Board, Hawaii State Teachers Association and Kamehameha Schools provide administrative and technical support to teachers interested in seeking National Board Certification. Recently, the DOE has partnered with Kamehameha Schools to train Hawaii NBCTs to conduct the introductory training of the Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching at schools throughout the state.

“It is no small accomplishment to become Board certified,” said Kamehameha Schools CEO Dee Jay Mailer. “It’s a strong symbol of dedication to professional excellence for one of the greatest callings on this Earth. The Danielson approach to professional development provides pathways to such excellence and it is gratifying to know that these master teachers are ready to assist their colleagues in the pursuit of their excellence as well.”

Saluting the newest class of NBCTs, Ronald Thorpe, president and CEO of the National Board, said: “Achieving National Board Certification is not only a great personal achievement, it is a strong statement about a teacher’s commitment to the profession and to students and their learning. Today, only a small fraction of America’s teachers are Board certified, but to improve the global competitiveness of our students, we must ensure that every novice teacher is on a trajectory towards accomplished practice.”

The Hawaii Teacher Standards Board Chairperson, Terry Holck states, “The Hawaii Teacher Standards Board would like to congratulate the new National Board Certified Teachers who have successfully undertaken the rigorous National Board Certification process and demonstrated their content knowledge and teaching skills against the most advanced standards in the nation. We would also like to commend the teachers who renewed their National Board Certification this past year. The Hawaii Teacher Standards Board is proud of its commitment to teacher excellence by providing subsidies and support sessions to Hawaii’s teachers who elect to go through this process. Every day, these accomplished teachers are having a positive impact on students in Hawaii.”

Research has shown that NBCTs have a significant impact on student achievement and that their students outperform their peers in other classrooms. Most recently, a 2012 study by Harvard University’s Strategic Data Project found that students of NBCTs in the Los Angeles Unified School District made learning gains equivalent to an additional two months of instruction in math and one month in English language arts.

National Board Certification is available in 25 certificate areas from Pre-K-12th grades. National Board Standards are written for teachers, by teachers and accomplished teachers are represented at every level of the organization, from key staff roles to the NBPTS Board of Directors and the Certification Council, which guides policy and implementation of the certification program. This fall the National Board announced revisions to the certification process that will help ensure more students across the country have the opportunity to learn from Board-certified teachers. Learn more about the revisions here.

 

Three Laysan Albatross Killed on North Shore of Kauai by Loose Dogs

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is issuing a reminder to pet owners to keep all dogs on leash, after three Laysan Albatross (or Moli) were killed on the North shore of Kaua‘i this weekend in the latest incident where albatross have been slaughtered by loose dogs. The dead albatross, which have only just started returning to Kaua‘i after many months out at sea, were found by tourists walking near Moloa‘a Bay.

Photo credit: Gina Ord (Dead Albatross)

Photo credit: Gina Ord (Dead Albatross)

The Laysan Albatross is listed as near threatened under the IUCN Red List and is a federally protected species. They have only recently recolonized Kaua‘i after a lengthy period of absence and their population has slowly increased on the island in recent years. They face a number of threats including by catch in long-line fisheries, ingestion of plastics and predation by introduced mammals, particularly dogs. In recent years there have been a number of incidents where dogs have gotten into albatross colonies and killed large numbers of nesting birds.

“Yet again, protected seabirds have been killed on Kaua‘i by dogs that have been allowed to roam off their leads,” said Thomas Ka‘iakapu, DLNR Kaua‘i Wildlife manager. “Considering that these albatross can live to be over 60 years old, it is particularly tragic to see them torn apart by dogs simply because a dog owner has been irresponsible.”

Two of the three birds were marked with unique identification codes. One, KP341, was a male bird that had been banded in 2007. It was one of a pair of albatross that are known to be the first pair to lay their egg on Kaua‘i each year. The second bird, P009, was banded at the Pacific Missile Range Testing Facility on the South Shore.

“We are asking dog owners to be responsible with their pets when walking along our coastal areas”, said Ka‘iakapu. “The message is simple – keep your dogs under control and on their leads. That way we can prevent these kinds of incidents from happening over and over again.”

 

How Does Hawaii Learn from Mainland School Shootings – Lessons from Sandy Hook and A Swift Paddle to the Ass

Today marks the anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy where innocent kids were killed for reasons we may never know.  Sadly we had another shooting today in Colorado as well!

How does Hawaii learn from these mainland tragedies that seem to be happening more and more?

I know for a fact that Pahoa High and Elementary School has a police officer on campus that shares his time there and the Keaau High School Campus.

This hits home for me personally as a few years ago a former student at my son’s school was allegedly threatening his former school and was headed there wearing a school uniform with alleged intentions of harming the school and anyone present there!

Should we put police on all High School Campuses?  Should we arm school security guards?  Remember “Lock Down Drills” when you were younger?

Yep... I brought "caps" to school at Larrabee Elementary!

Yep… I brought “caps” to school at Larrabee Elementary!

Yes… I was the kid in elementary school that got swatted by Mr. Gallagher for bringing “Caps” to school in elementary school just for the fun of it back in the early 1970’s!   I probably would have been shot and or put in jail had I tried something like that in today’s society… but then again… Principals today would go to jail for busting out wooden paddles on students… so I guess we’re even!

Department of Education Lifting the Hold on Sex Ed Curriculum “Pono Choices”

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is lifting the hold on one of its sexual education curriculum. A review of Pono Choices confirmed the curriculum is medically accurate, appropriate and aligned with health education, state law and DOE policy.

DOE ReleasePono Choices was put on hold last month pending a review of curriculum concerns brought to the DOE’s attention. Pono Choices is a teen pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) prevention program funded by the federal Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) and developed by the University of Hawaii at Manoa Center on Disability Studies (CDS).

“Our review not only affirmed that the curriculum meets department standards, but it also showed that Pono Choices is a culturally responsive curriculum that has resulted in positive outcomes for students,” stated Leila Hayashida, assistant superintendent for the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support. “In this case that means more youth abstaining from sex and less teen pregnancy and STI transmission.”

Twelve DOE schools are slated to teach Pono Choices next semester. Some of these schools have been using the curriculum for the past four semesters, and other schools will be using the curriculum for the first time.

“All of the schools have teachers who have been trained to deliver the curriculum as it is intended to be delivered so that the learning that takes place is standard and consistent across schools,” noted Hayashida.

During the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years, 12 DOE schools chose to implement the Pono Choices curriculum as a part of sexual health education. Each school held parent informational sessions prior to use. Eight other DOE schools are scheduled to receive training this school year.

“We greatly appreciate the careful and thoughtful review process that took place,” said Pono Choices Principal Investigator Dr. Kelly Roberts. “We look forward to continuing our work with parents and teachers about educating our students on how to abstain from sex, how to refuse unwanted sexual pressures and how to prevent a pregnancy and a STI.”

Parents in schools implementing the curriculum are invited to a Pono Choices Parent Night through a letter that is sent home with their child. The letter provides the date, time and location of the parent night presentation and informs the parent or guardian that their child will be studying teen pregnancy and STI prevention as part of health education and that the school will be using the Pono Choices curriculum. The letter also provides information about the curriculum and explains that it teaches students how to correctly use a condom to prevent pregnancy and STIs. The entire DOE abstinence-based policy is also provided in the letter.

Taught in middle schools, sexual health education focuses on short-and long-term effects and consequences of sexual activity, such as an unintended pregnancy or STIs. All DOE approved sex education curricula are in compliance with the Board of Education’s abstinence-based sex education Policy 2110. For any curriculum or lesson that addresses reproductive health, parents have the option of requesting that their child not receive the instruction.

 

Tyson and Kyson – Father and Son Arrested and Charged After Being Stopped in Stolen Car

A Hilo man and his son have been arrested and charged with assorted offenses after being stopped in a stolen car.

On December 9, a home on Kupukupu Street in Hilo was broken into and several items were stolen, including keys to a sports-utility vehicle, which also was taken.

Kyson Dameron

Kyson Dameron

Wednesday afternoon (December 11), police officers stopped the stolen SUV on Highway 11. The driver, 37-year-old Tyson Prim, and his son, 18-year-old Kyson Dameron, both of Hilo, were arrested and taken to the Hilo police cellblock, while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

Tyson Prim

Tyson Prim

On Thursday, detectives released Dameron pending further investigation.

Immediately upon his release, South Hilo patrol officers arrested Dameron again on suspicion of fraudulent use of a credit card in an unrelated case. The card, along with jewelry and cash, had been taken during a burglary in the Waiākea area on December 2. The stolen card had been used at various Hilo businesses 15 times between the time of the burglary and Dameron’s arrest.

Friday morning, detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section charged Prim with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle. His bail was set at $10,000. He made his initial court appearance Friday afternoon.

Later Friday, South Hilo Patrol officers charged Dameron with first-degree burglary, 16 counts of theft, eight counts of forgery, 15 counts of fraudulent use of a credit card and 15 counts of identity theft. He was also charged with two additional counts of first-degree burglary for break-ins in Waiākea on December 4 and December 10, during which a laptop, jewelry and cash were stolen.

Dameron’s bail was set at $106,750. He remains at the cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday.

 

Governor Releases $3.03 Million in Capital Improvement Grants to Local Nonprofits

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $3.03 million for various capital improvement grants to Hawaii-based nonprofit organizations whose missions benefit island communities.

From the Governor's Desk

“We recognize that nonprofit organizations are the state’s partners in providing services that are important to the people of Hawaii,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “Through this collaboration, we are better able to address issues that range from pediatric health care, foster care and elderly assistance; to support for the arts and preservation of Hawaii’s most treasured landmarks.”

Allotment of funds for the following projects were identified by members of the state Legislature and approved by the Governor:

$1,500,000 – Friends of Shriners Hospital, Oahu – Final construction of the capital improvement project for the Hale Ohana Family Center that will provide temporary housing needs for needy families residing outside the urban area of Honolulu accompanying their children for treatment at the hospital (The facility is part of the national network of children hospitals specializing in orthopedic and burn care. The Honolulu hospital is a 24-bed pediatric orthopedic hospital, providing care for children with bone, joint and neuromuscular conditions in Hawaii and throughout the Asia/Pacific region. It serves a geographic area larger than the continental United States with health care services to children from such locations as American Samoa, Chuuk, Fiji, Guam, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Saipan.)

$435,000 – Hale Opio Kauai, Inc., Kauai – Renovation and upgrading of Hale Opio’s three-story administration building, including renovating the broken air conditioning system, replacing the current windows with energy efficient ones, upgrading the lighting system, and installing a photovoltaic system on the roof to reduce energy costs (Hale Opio administers more than 20 residential and community-based programs, including therapeutic foster homes, emergency shelters, intake and assessment, Kauai Teen Court, violence prevention, First Job Academy, teen programs, and truancy prevention.)

$500,000 – Maui Economic Opportunity Transportation Center, Maui – Construction of a centralized facility to provide a one-stop service for bus washing and vacuuming (MEO provides county-subsidized on-demand transportation services to the elderly, low-income individuals, persons with disabilities, and medically needy residents, as well as to preschool children and disadvantaged youth in Maui County.)

$250,000 – Friends of Iolani Palace, Oahu – Restoration, repair and refinishing of interior and exterior walls, ceilings, flooring and windows at Iolani Palace, Iolani Barracks and the Kanaina Building; funds will also be used to address termite damage, complete electrical system improvements, and install security cameras and other security improvements (The nonprofit organization has been managing and maintaining Iolani Palace, which is the only royal palace in the United States; approximately 61,000 visitors tour the palace each year.)

$230,000 – Waikiki Community Center, Oahu – Repairs and improvements to three of the center’s buildings to enhance public safety, including replacing damaged exterior face boards, eaves, flashing and roof support beams; applying waterproof membranes and sealants onto new roofing materials to prevent leakage and reduce the interior heat by 10 degrees; installing and replacing damaged gutters and re-positioning misplaced drainage downspouts; and repairing small structural cracks and painting the exterior of the buildings (The nonprofit center serves as a “one-stop” center for health and human services, social support, counseling, lifelong education and wellness, and community building for Waikiki’s children, families and elderly as well as a gathering place for the community.)

$120,000 – Honolulu Academy of Arts, Oahu – Planning for a new Teacher Resource Art Center adjacent to the Art School for the Museum (Due to space constraints, the current art school cannot meet the demands of the local constituencies requesting art classes. As such, the “Our Museum, Our Community, Our Future” planning project will include plans for a new facility for studio art classrooms, teacher training, a community library/knowledge center, and additional art storage.)

Working Group Announces Recommendations to Strengthen Hawaii’s Juvenile Justice System

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim and House Speaker Joseph Souki today received a comprehensive package of policy recommendations from Hawaii’s Juvenile Justice Working Group. In August, these four state leaders charged the inter-branch, bipartisan working group with developing policy recommendations to maximize the effectiveness of Hawaii’s juvenile justice system, improve outcomes for youth and families, and ensure policies and practices are grounded in data and research.

Click to read report

Click to read report

The working group answered the charge with 24 recommendations that will reduce recidivism and rehabilitate more youth. These policies will focus juvenile justice system resources on protecting public safety and more effectively using bed space at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF); strengthen community supervision and probation practices across the Hawaii islands; increase resources and access to critical mental health and substance abuse; and sustain effective, proven practices.

Currently, HYCF costs taxpayers $199,000 per bed, per year, yet provides little return on this large investment. A recent study revealed that 75 percent of youth exiting HYCF are re-adjudicated or reconvicted within three years of release. Research indicates that, for many youth, residential placement generally fails to produce better outcomes, and can even increase the risk of recidivism when compared with lower-cost, community-based alternatives such as probation, outpatient mental health or substance abuse treatment, and evidence-based programming.

“By reviewing the data, we now have a clear picture of what is driving costs and recidivism within our juvenile system,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “The working group took a hard look at what is and isn’t working, and then developed concrete policy recommendations that will equip our communities to achieve far better outcomes for youth and their families.”

After studying Hawaii data and meeting extensively with stakeholders, the working group found that, while Hawaii has reduced commitments to HYCF by 41 percent in the last decade, there are still many youth who could be more effectively supervised and rehabilitated with the right alternatives in their own communities. For example, many youth were placed in HYCF for a misdemeanor or nonviolent offense. Additionally, the youth being sent to HYCF are staying longer than at any point since 2004: the average length of time has increased 188 percent since 2004.

Importantly, the working group believes that critical services to reduce delinquency in youth, including mental health and substance abuse treatments, are not sufficiently available and resources must be prioritized to building up those services. The working group also found that probation practices varied dramatically by circuit and surveys of probation officers revealed deep concerns about the availability of and access to treatment and community services for youth on probation.

“Hawaii has long sought a more effective juvenile justice system, in which our judges have the tools and sentencing options necessary to reduce recidivism and improve a young person’s chances of success,” Chief Justice Recktenwald said. “The working group’s recommendations provide our state with a roadmap towards a juvenile justice system that more effectively helps youth and their families, while also protecting public safety.”

Under the recommendations, youth convicted of a misdemeanor offense would not be eligible for commitment to HYCF, allowing them to remain on their home island with their families and participate in less costly, more effective community-based alternatives. This approach would permit the state to focus HYCF on youth who require the most serious interventions and to reinvest the savings into community resources across the state.

“These recommendations call for more tools throughout the juvenile justice system that are primarily focused on putting youth back on track to living healthy and safe lives,” said Senate President Donna Mercado Kim. “And strengthening juvenile justice within our communities is the right step for our islands and our youth.”

The complete list of policy recommendations includes:

focusing HYCF bed space on more serious juvenile offenders;
clarifying and strengthening juvenile parole and reentry practices;
clearly defining diversion options for lower-level youth;
maximizing probation effectiveness in every circuit;
equipping probation officers with tools to manage youth behavior;
increasing collaboration with partner agencies; and
sustaining effective practices.

“Hawaii has the opportunity to use this inter-branch, bi-partisan process to take huge steps forward with our juvenile justice system,” House Speaker Joseph Souki said. “Moving forward, Hawaii will use secure beds in the most effective way to reduce recidivism, while providing more safe alternatives to incarceration that can keep juveniles with their families and increase their chances of success.”

Taken together, the policy recommendations are projected to accelerate current trends, reducing the HYCF average daily population by 60 percent by 2019. This shift will allow the closure of the Hookipa Makai cottage during the 2015 fiscal year, and save Hawaii taxpayers at least $11 million over the next five fiscal years.

The recommendations follow months of work by the group led by Senior Family Court Judge R. Mark Browning, House Committee on Human Services Chair Rep. Mele Carroll, and Department of Human Services Deputy Director Barbara Yamashita.

The 20-member working group, launched in August, drew members from all three branches of state government, and includes representatives of local government, prosecutors, law enforcement, probation, non-profit service providers, and other key juvenile justice stakeholder groups. The group received technical assistance from The Pew Charitable Trusts’ public safety performance project.

 

California Visitor Dies After Scuba Diving in Waters Off Kona Identified as James Uihlein

Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated a coroner’s inquest case in connection with the death of a diver Thursday (December 12), in waters off Kona.

HPDBadgeAt 7:12 p.m., Fire Department personnel responded to Honokōhau Harbor for a report of an unresponsive man who was diving off the Kona Coast.

A 55-year-old man identified as James Uihlein of Fallbrook, California, had been scuba diving off a commercial dive boat when he became unresponsive. After returning to shore, Fire Department rescue personnel took him to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:27 p.m.

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

Coast Guard Icebreaker Visits Honolulu

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star made a scheduled port call to Honolulu Friday as it transits to conduct missions in the Antarctic.

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, home-ported in Seattle, made a scheduled port call in Honolulu, Friday, as it transits to conduct missions in the Antarctic. The Polar Star departed Seattle Dec. 3 for Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze for the first time since 2006 with the vital task of resupplying the National Science Foundation Scientific Research in McMurdo. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Molle)

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, home-ported in Seattle, made a scheduled port call in Honolulu, Friday, as it transits to conduct missions in the Antarctic. The Polar Star departed Seattle Dec. 3 for Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze for the first time since 2006 with the vital task of resupplying the National Science Foundation Scientific Research in McMurdo. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Molle)

The Polar Star departed Seattle Dec. 3 for Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze for the first time since 2006 with the vital task of resupplying the National Science Foundation Scientific Research Station in McMurdo.

For more than 50 years Coast Guard icebreakers have deployed to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze. They will assist by creating a navigable shipping lane through the layers of ice in McMurdo Sound. Approximately eight million U.S. gallons of fuel will be sent to McMurdo residents through the channel and be delivered to Winter Quarters Bay. This fuel allows the Station to remain manned and ready during the freezing winter months.

This past summer Polar Star conducted sea trials in the Arctic to test all of the ship’s equipment and train the crew prior to embarking to Antarctica this winter. During the summer trip, Polar Star spent weeks in the Beaufort Sea north of Barrow, Alaska, testing propulsion machinery, conducting emergency drills and qualifying crewmembers in individual watchstations.

With a tumultuous schedule leading up to Polar Star’s Deep Freeze Deployment, the crew have not only overhauled many vital pieces of equipment from the bridge to the engine rooms, but have successfully completed a number of assessments to achieve their fully reactivated status.

Polar Star is a 399-foot polar class icebreaker with a 140-person crew. The cutter is recently out of a three-year, $90 million overhaul, which is part of the Coast Guard’s plan to reactivate the heavy icebreaker.

 

Big Island Police Searching for 16-Year-Old Hilo Girl Missing Since November

2/3/14 UPDATE: Hawaiʻi Island police have located 16-year-old Brianna Kehaulani Freitas-Jones of Hilo, who was reported missing.  She was found in good health Friday (January 31) in Puna.

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 16-year-old Hilo girl who was reported missing.

Brianna Kehaulani Freitas-Jones

Brianna Kehaulani Freitas-Jones

Brianna Kehaulani Freitas-Jones was last seen in Hilo the afternoon of November 18. She is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-7, 130 pounds with green eyes and long brown hair.

Police ask that anyone with information on her whereabouts call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

3.0 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Volcano Area of Big Island

A 3.0 magnitude earthquake hit the volcano area of the Big Island around 10:00 this morning:

30 Volcano2

Big Island Police Asking Public’s Help in Identifying Two Folks Caught on Surveilance Attempting to Burglarize Fast Food Restaurant

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying two persons captured on surveillance video during an attempted burglary at a fast food restaurant in Hilo.
Fast Food Thief
The attempted burglary on the 200 block of Waiānuenue Avenue took place in the early hours of October 8.

Fast Food Thief 2

The suspects did not make entry but caused damage to a security screen door.

Police ask anyone who knows the identity of the individuals in the photos to contact Detective Grant Todd at 961-2385 or gtodd@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

 

Gun Threat at UH Hilo Was a Hoax – Man Arrested for False Reporting

Hawaiʻi Island police have determined that a report of a gun threat Monday at a college campus in Hilo was unfounded.

Louis H. Bartlow

Louis H. Bartlow

The terroristic threatening case has been closed and the man who reported it, 25-year-old Louis H. Bartlow of Kalapana, has been charged with a crime.

On Monday morning, Bartlow, who claimed to be an employee of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, reported that he had been accosted on campus by a man with a firearm.

Investigation by detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section revealed that the incident did not occur and that Bartlow is not a university employee.

At 12:30 p.m. Thursday (December 12) police arrested Bartlow and charged him with false reporting to law enforcement authorities, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. His bail was set at $500. He is being held at the Hilo police cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Friday (December 13).

Update to Crater Rim Drive Lane Closure

The westbound lane fronting Steam Vents will be closed for up to 10 weeks, Monday through Thursday, while crews replace a deteriorated water main.

Lava “waterfall” from the Mauna Ulu eruption, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. C. 1970

Lava “waterfall” from the Mauna Ulu eruption, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. C. 1970

Weekly work will be completed during four 10-hour days, instead of five eight-hour days. There will be no construction work or lane closure in the area on Fridays.

Traffic controllers will alternate traffic flow through the single open lane, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Wait times to pass the construction area should not exceed 15 minutes.

Both lanes will be open to traffic when there is no active construction.

The project will replace approximately 3,000 feet of failing pipe that supplies water to Jaggar Museum and the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

 

New DOE Website Makes School Growth Data Transparent to Public

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is pleased to make available to parents, students and the broader Hawaii community a public version of the Hawaii Growth Model data visualization website.

This interactive website allows users to click among multiple data streams comparing the state’s Complex Areas, schools and student groups, generating bubble charts that plot how those groups are faring according to two key yardsticks: Proficiency and Growth.

lets get started

“The launch of the public Hawaii Growth Model data visualization website is an exciting step in the Department’s journey to provide better information about school performance, in timely, easy-to-access, user-friendly ways,” said Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe. “The ability to visualize growth data in context with how a school or Complex is performing in relation to others over time is critical to building understanding and collaborative action.”

Explore our website at HawaiiPublicSchools.org for key information about this powerful new tool:

· An overview of the Growth Model, with a navigation video of the Growth Model website;
· Frequently Asked Questions about the Growth Model.
In addition to viewing student growth data by school and Complex Area, users can drill down into rich data sets and view:

· School performance on the Strive HI Index
· Median growth percentiles
· Student proficiency
· Performance among student groups
Since summer 2013, DOE teachers and key staff have been using a private version of the Growth Model website to analyze student achievement data that helps inform instruction and guide school initiatives. The staff website is protected by federal and DOE regulations from being released publicly. Users of the public Growth Model website cannot view data for populations of fewer than 20 students.

By making comprehensive data sets easily sortable and searchable, the Growth Model website supports all three goals of the Department’s Strategic Plan: Student Success, Staff Success, and Successful Systems of Support.

Explore the Hawaii Growth Model website here: http://growthmodel.hawaiipublicschools.org

The Hawaii State Department of Education is the ninth largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 288 schools and serves more than 185,000 students. To learn more about the Department, its goals and vision for success, visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.