Gov. Abercrombie Speaks at UH Hilo Hale Alahonua University Village Phase I Student Housing Grand Opening

This morning, Governor Abercrombie offered remarks at the UH Hilo Hale Alahonua University Village Phase I Student Housing grand opening.

Abercrombie at UHH
“A university has to have the facilities to attract people and show its commitment to excellence.”

Abercrombie New dorms

Hale Alahonua fulfills the need for more on-campus housing by providing approximately 300 additional beds in suite-style residence halls.

Abercrombie at UHH Greggor

Some students base their decision to attend on whether they can find on-campus housing. In addition, research shows students who live on campus have better academic success and retention rates.

Commentary – Aaron Stene on the Saddle Road Project

I’m very disappointed how Governor Abercrombie’s administration has managed the widening of Queen Kaahumanu Highway and last Hilo side phase
of Saddle Road. The Section 106 consultation process between the Native Hawaiian Organizations and FHWA/DOT has entered its twentieth month.

Saddle Road Dedication

The FHWA and DOT is keeping the public  in the dark regarding these consultations, so no one knows where things stand with this project. The
Queen Kaahumanu Highway website hasn’t been updated since September 25th, 2012.

The Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening should’ve been completed three years ago, but it is on hold due to various issues. There may be a light
at the end of tunnel though. The HDOT hopes to break ground on this project in August, according to the April Board of Water Supply meeting
minutes. However, the calendar isn’t a friend of this latest start date.  Several outstanding issues need to be resolved, such as the completion
of the ongoing Section 106 consultation process, before this project can move forward.

Saddle Road Blessing

Senator Inouye joined Mayor Billy Kenoi and others for a blessing of the recently refurbished section of Saddle Road between mile post 11 and mile post 19

The last east side Saddle Road phase (between m.m  5.3 and m.m 11) is the other project botched by Governor Abercrombie’s administration. The
HDOT asked the State Attorney General’s office  to begin condemnation proceedings against the three remaining landowners in 2012, whose land
is required for this new highway.

The Land Transportation Division of the Attorney General’s office has yet to initiate any of these lawsuits, as of January 2013. The HDOT
recently submitted the last Saddle Road phase for a FY 2013 TIGER grant.  I’m deeply concerned this right of way issue may influence the chances of this phase being awarded a TIGER grant.

Saddle Road Stene

I’ve tried to convey my concerns to the Honolulu HDOT and FHWA powers that be. However, they’ve ignored nearly all my e-mails regarding these
two much-needed projects.

Aaron Stene,

Kailua, Kona

 

Governor Abercrombie Signs School Readiness Bill

Names New Early Learning Director for Implementation Phase

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed Senate Bill 1093, a significant first step to transform early education in Hawaii and ensure that all island keiki have access to preschool.

Governor Abercrombie Signs School Readiness Bill Names New Early Learning Director for Implementation Phase

Governor Abercrombie Signs School Readiness Bill
Names New Early Learning Director for Implementation Phase

“In my 2013 State of the State, I described any failure to address early learning development as one of our state’s greatest unfunded liabilities; this bill breaks from the status quo and provides our first down payment on ensuring Hawaii’s keiki are prepared to enter kindergarten ready to learn,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “No other piece of legislation this year was more important. I firmly believe that giving keiki a strong early childhood education foundation is the best, most effective way to empower their success in life.”

Gov. Abercrombie also announced the appointment of GG Weisenfed, Ed.D, as director of the Executive Office on Early Learning (EOEL). Weisenfeld will take over for Terry Lock, the state’s former early childhood coordinator who the Governor appointed as director when the office was first established. Lock has accepted a position with the University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Education, where she will focus on the professional and leadership development of current and future early childhood educators.

“Terry joined my administration in 2011 and has been a steadfast leader for our youngest citizens,” the Governor said. “She and her team have made significant progress and established a strong foundation for early learning and development in Hawaii, including completing the strategic plan ‘Taking Action for Hawaii’s Children.’ As we enter this next phase of implementation, it means a great deal to me that Terry recommended GG to lead our efforts forward.”

A key component of the Governor’s legislative package, SB1093 (enacted as Act 151) establishes the Preschool Open Doors Program as the statewide school readiness program administered by the state Department of Human Services. The new voluntary program will provide access to school readiness services that address children’s physical, cognitive, linguistic, social and emotional development. The program will serve 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.

The bill also requires each provider to conduct school readiness assessments, give priority to children from low- and moderate-income families, and prepare children for school through either English or Hawaiian language.

The measure includes appropriations of $720,000 in fiscal year 2013 and $440,000 in fiscal year 2014 to fund three temporary positions and contract services, as well as an additional $6 million for program subsidies in fiscal year 2014.

About the New Director
Weisenfeld was most recently the director of the Hawaii P-3 Initiative at the University of Hawaii, where she aligned policies and programs between the early childhood community and the state Department of Education through researching and leading the development of the Hawaii’s Early Learning and Development Standards (HELDS). As an early childhood research specialist at the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii, Weisenfeld facilitated the creation of a research-based design and implementation plan for a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for early childhood programs in Hawaii.

Weisenfeld has established herself as a champion of early learning, publishing numerous works on the issue. She honed her skills in New York’s early education system and has served in positions ranging from early childhood classroom teacher, to director of childhood services (including Head Start and Early Head Start), to assistant professor of education.

Governor Abercrombie Signs Bill Vital to Hawaii’s Honeybee Industry

In conjunction with “Hawaii Pollinator Week,” which recognizes the role of honeybees and other primary pollinators as essential to many agricultural and horticultural operations, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed Senate Bill 482 into law to ensure the continued viability of honeybee operations in the state.

Gov. Abercrombie holds up the proclamation

Gov. Abercrombie holds up the proclamation

“We must encourage beekeeping operations of all sizes to ensure that honeybee stocks thrive in both managed apiaries and the wild, especially as bee populations have declined due to disease and invasive predators,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “SB482 will make beekeeping more financially viable for beekeepers to legally extract, bottle and sell honey by minimizing unnecessary administrative and bureaucratic requirements in ways that will not affect public safety.”

SB482, enacted today as Act 131, clarifies the maximum number of gallons of honey that can be sold by a certified honey house or food processing establishment without obtaining a permit from the state Department of Health (DOH). The measure also exempts from permit requirement sales of honey directly to retail stores that, in turn, sell the honey directly to consumers. In addition, the act provides for consumer protections by requiring honey producers to include appropriate labeling of each container of honey, take a food safety class, and make records available to DOH.

“Many small beekeepers have been unable to successfully navigate current regulatory hurdles required to operate a certified food-processing establishment on their own premises for the extraction and bottling of honey, which has resulting in many giving up beekeeping entirely,” said Hawaii Board of Agriculture Chairperson Russell S. Kokubun. “SB482 provides needed clarification to state law and greater flexibility to Hawaii’s honeybee farmers as not only a growing facet of our local agriculture industry but also a fundamental part of the long-term sustainability of the industry and the protection of our native habitats.”

Bee Polinator Week

After signing the bill, Gov. Abercrombie officially proclaimed June 17 through 23 “Hawaii Pollinator Week” to recognize the vital role of bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles in maintaining healthy, diverse ecosystems and productive farms in Hawaii and elsewhere throughout the world. Through the observance, all citizens are encouraged to be mindful of the habitats and public lands, such as forests and grasslands, and the conservation assistance provided by the State of Hawaii to promote wise conservation stewardship, including the protection and maintenance of pollinators.

Pollinator Week was first designated by the U.S. Senate and U.S. Department of Agriculture in June of 2007 and has been promoted annually by the Pollinator Partnership to address the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Varroa mites, small hive beetles, and nosema have decimated honeybee populations on the continental United States and recently throughout Hawaii.

 

Governor Abercrombie Meets with the Mayors – Kenoi Testifies Before Legislature

Governor Abercrombie met with Mayors from Honolulu, Kauai, Maui, Big Island counties

Governor Abercrombie met with Mayors from Honolulu, Kauai, Maui, Big Island counties today.

Click here to read Mayor Kenoi’s testimony before the legislature today: Mayor Kenoi Testifies Before Legislature.

Governor Abercrombie Conference on $866.9 Million Sale of State of Hawaii General Obligation Bonds

12/4/12 news conference on $866.9 million sale of State of Hawaii G.O. Bonds

12/4/12 news conference on $866.9 million sale of State of Hawaii G.O. Bonds

Today’s news conference on the $866.9 million sale of State General Obligation Bonds as originally webcast/live streamed.

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Governor Abercrombie on the Hawaii Broadband Initiative

Aloha friends,
My Administration is working hard to ensure that the State of Hawai’i will be at the forefront of high-speed technology. Please take a minute to view this special message about the Hawai’i Broadband Initiative and how your state government is examining ways to enhance our statewide broadband network by closing gaps in service, ultimately improving connectivity throughout the Aloha State.

Click for more information

Help give the people of Hawai’i a competitive edge by participating in the Hawai’i Speed Test, visit http://hawaiispeedtest.net

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Aloha.  This is Governor Neil Abercrombie.
For a state as isolated as our own, high-speed Internet can be transformative. 
It connects families, businesses and institutions – between the islands and with the rest of the world.  It spurs economic development, fosters innovation, and gives current and future generations a competitive edge. That’s why my Administration has launched the Hawaii Broadband Initiative, to provide universal access to affordable, ultra high-speed Internet by 2018. 
Leveraging federal funds, our goal is to establish a statewide connection of one gigabit per second.  That’s two hundred times faster than today’s typical household connection.
But we need your help. Visit HawaiiSpeedTest dot net to measure the current network in your area.  Take the test often, at different times of day, and from multiple computers and mobile devices. 
Data from across the state will help our broadband specialists map out Hawaii’s overall network coverage. So please visit hawaiispeedtest dot net. Mahalo

Video: Short Recap 2012 Hawaii State Of The State Address by Governor Abercrombie

Governor Abercrombie offers a short recap version of the 2012 Hawaii State Of The State Address.

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Governor Abercrombie Expected to Release Emergency Appropriation Funds to Support Kidney and Liver Transplants

Conference Committee Scheduled to Address Organ Transplant Facility in Hawaii

WHAT: A conference committee on HB608 RELATING TO HEALTH will re-open.  HB608 appropriates funds, subject to a dollar-for-dollar match with private funds, to support a kidney and liver transplant provider in Hawaii, and to support a federally recognized chronic kidney disease management program.

WHEN: Monday, January 23, 2012 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: Hawaii State Capitol, Room 229

WHY: Governor Abercrombie is expected to release Emergency Appropriation funds, as required by HB608, to support kidney and liver transplants in Hawaii.  The recent closure of Hawaii Medical Center has strained the state’s health system and has left Hawaii without a Center for Medicare and Medicaid-certified service provider for kidney and liver transplants.

WHO: House conferees: Representatives Yamane, Morikawa (co-chairs), and Jordan, Wooley, Ching.      Senate conferees: Senator Green, Chun-Oakland (co-chairs), and Slom.

Governor Abercrombie’s 2011 Holiday Message

Governor Abercrombie offers a special holiday message and reflects upon the meaning and values of Mele Kalikimaka and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou.

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Transcript:

We all know Christmas is a special time of the year and we say so every Christmas. But what is it that makes it special? I suspect it’s because we feel we need to remind ourselves about values that represent the holiday season – The value of giving, of sharing joy, of spreading the meaning of Aloha near and far – to family, friends, and even those we meet or scarcely know.

We emphasize these things during the holidays because we fear we may have forgotten them more than a little bit since last Christmas. The idea of the greetings – Mele Kalikimaka – Hau’oli Makahiki Hou – is to remind ourselves that perhaps this year we can keep their meaning fresh in our hearts and minds all through the year to come. So, Mele Kalikimaka – Hau’oli Makahiki Hou. Love and joy to you this holiday and for all the days to come in the New Year.

Governor Abercrombie Visits the Renovated Towers At Kuhio Park

Governor Abercrombie visited residents in Towers at Kuhio Park last week and tours individual units to see the positive changes in renovations and positive changes in residents attitudes.

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Governor Abercrombie Visits BJ Penn’s Gym

Governor Neil Abercrombie visited the BJ Penn Hawaii Youth Foundation at BJ’s Gym in Hilo, Hawaii.

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Governor Abercrombie Signs Proclamation Presented to the Kealakehe Robotics Team

Governor Abercrombie signs Proclamation Presented to the Kealakehe Robotics Team to commend “their determination, ingenuity, and commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and mathematics”

Click to enlarge

Kona Coffee Festival Captures Prestigious Visitor Industry Marketing Award

Media Release:

The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is a proud recipient of this year’s Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce Visitor Industry Marketing Award presented to the Festival at the Chamber’s recent annual membership meeting.

L to R: Norman Sakata, Governor Abercrombie, Miss Aloha Hawaii, Mel Morimoto

L to R: Norman Sakata, Governor Abercrombie, Miss Aloha Hawaii, Mel Morimoto

Since 1979, the Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce has recognized leaders in West Hawaii through this award for their dedication and hard work in the community. The Pualu Awards (literally meaning to work together) recognizes recipients for their outstanding commitment to the community.

The Visitor Industry Marketing Award acknowledged the grass roots Kona Coffee Cultural Festival organization for its efforts to preserve, perpetuate and promote Kona’s unique 180+year coffee heritage.

“The Festival is quite honored to accept this generous award. Each year, The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival celebrates our community and the pioneers who laid the foundation for the successful Kona coffee industry we have today. We want to thank everyone including visitors to our island home for supporting the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival for more than forty years, ” stated Norman Sakata, President, Kona Coffee Cultural Festival.

The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival promotes ag-tourism annually during the November shoulder season with the intention that visitors and residents discover and experience Kona coffee and the unique history, heritage and lifestyle. Each year the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival hosts over forty special events during its 10-day schedule from farm tours, coffee workshops to picking contests, visitors and residents have every opportunity to participate.

Governor Abercrombie – “A Time for Action”

Governor Abercrombie’s Weekly Message instills confidence that now that the session is over, we are moving foreword and taking action into the New Day for Hawai’i.

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Governor Abercrombie on “Our Voyage Together”

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Media Release:

Since becoming Governor, I have assembled a team of talented and dedicated public servants to lead our sixteen state departments–and I have been working to formulate a fair and balanced approach to the challenges facing our state.

Yesterday, in my first State of the State address, I presented a plan that will balance the budget, speed up our recovery, result in increased revenues and create a healthy, functioning government.

Although our goal is to present ideas that are well

considered and developed–products of conversations with lawmakers, academics, private businesses, workers, nonprofits, and community leaders–I am wide open to other ideas. I want to hear from you. Don’t hesitate to send me your comments, ideas, and concerns.

As I’ve said many times, the challenge before us is not to balance a budget. Our challenge is to ensure that our values and priorities are reflected in the decisions we make and actions we take. I am asking every person—each legislator, administrator, business owner, worker, advocate, teacher, doctor, parent—each and every citizen to help. Everyone must be prepared to contribute.

I’m counting on you…just as I know you are counting on me. I’m proud to be your Governor.

Imua Hawaii!

Neil Abercrombie
Governor, State of Hawaii