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Call for Applications for the Water Security Advisory Group

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is accepting applications for membership on the Water Security Advisory Group established in Act 172, Session Laws of Hawaii 2016. The Chairperson of DLNR will review the applications and select individuals that are deemed qualified to serve on the Water Security Advisory Group per the requirements of Act 172.

hb2040Act 172 requires that members of the Water Security Advisory Group be comprised of the manager and chief engineer of the board of water supply of each county or their designee, the deputy director for water resource management of the DLNR, and the following individuals:

  1. A member with knowledge of agricultural water storage and delivery systems;
  2. A member of a private landowning entity that actively partners with a watershed partnership;
  3. A member with knowledge, experience, and expertise in the area of Hawaiian cultural practices; and
  4. A member representing a conservation organization.

The Water Security Advisory Group shall advise the DLNR on the priority of all proposals for projects or programs submitted by public or private agencies or organizations to increase water security in the State and recommend high-priority programs for the award of matching funds established through Act 172.

Water Security Advisory Group members shall serve without compensation until June 30, 2018.

Interested persons are encouraged to submit a resume, cover letter, and 3 letters of reference that outline the applicant’s qualifications to serve on the Water Security Advisory Group.

Applications and resumes should be postmarked no later than December 23, 2016 and may be sent to:

Water Security Advisory Group

Commission on Water Resource Management

1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 227

Honolulu, HI 96813

Act 172 may be viewed or downloaded at:  http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/bills/GM1274_.PDF

Eight Big Island Police Officers Honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Eight Big Island police officers were honored this week by Mothers Against Drunk Driving-Hawaiʻi, in cooperation with Big Island Toyota, for their efforts and dedication this year to the fight against drunk and drugged driving.

Chief Harry Kubojiri congratulates East Hawaiʻi Officers Gregg Karonis, Bryson Miyose, Jacob Obermiller and Erhard Autrata.

Chief Harry Kubojiri congratulates East Hawaiʻi Officers Gregg Karonis, Bryson Miyose, Jacob Obermiller and Erhard Autrata.

On Monday (November 21) four East Hawaiʻi officers were honored at a luncheon at the Hilo Yacht Club. They were Hāmākua Patrol Officer Gregg Karonis for four DUI arrests, Puna Patrol Officer Bryson Miyose for 22 DUI arrests, South Hilo Patrol Officer Jacob Obermiller for 25 DUI arrests and Area I Traffic Enforcement Unit Officer Erhard Autrata for 43 DUI arrests.

Major Mitchell Kanehailua congratulates West Hawaiʻi Officers Adam Roberg, Kimo Keliipaakaua, Chandler Nacino and Severo Ines.

Major Mitchell Kanehailua congratulates West Hawaiʻi Officers Adam Roberg, Kimo Keliipaakaua, Chandler Nacino and Severo Ines.

On Tuesday (November 22) four West Hawaiʻi officers were honored at a luncheon at Fumi’s Kitchen in Kailua-Kona. They were South Kohala Patrol Officer Severo Ines for five DUI arrests, Kona Patrol Officer Chandler Nacino for 12 DUI arrests, Kona Patrol Officer Adam Roberg for 21 DUI arrests and Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit Officer Kimo Keliipaakaua for 24 DUI arrests.

This year, MADD-Hawaiʻi, co-sponsored by Servco Pacific/Toyota Hawaii, reinstated their police recognition awards by recognizing officers throughout the state for their efforts to reduce deaths and injuries on our roadways from impaired drivers.

Island Air Increasing Checked Baggage Fees

Starting Tuesday, November 15, Island Air customers who are not enrolled in the airline’s Island Miles program will see an increase of $10 in their checked baggage fees.

island-airThe new baggage fees for non-members will be $25 for the first checked bag, $35 for the second checked bag, and $35 for each additional checked bag. For Island Miles members, fees will be $15 for the first bag, $20 for the second bag and $35 for each additional bag.

  Tickets Issued on or before November 14 Tickets Issued on or after November 15
Non-members
Tickets Issued on or after November 15
Island Miles Members
Carry On  Free Free Free
1st Checked Bag  $15 $25 $15
2nd Checked Bag  $25 $35 $20
Additional checked bag  $35 $35 $35

To become an Island Miles member, visit www.islandair.com/island-miles. Island Miles members can enjoy benefits such as mileage rewards, fast rewards, flexible rewards, sharable rewards, lower baggage fees and priority boarding. There is no cost to join the Island Miles program and members will also receive monthly email updates on specials and promotions.

For more information, visit www.islandair.com or call (800) 388-1105.

About Island Air

Island Air is the value leader in the Hawaiian Islands, offering 238 convenient flights each week between O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island. The affordable alternative for interisland travel, Island Air’s 64-seat ATR-72 aircraft are able to provide captivating aerial views of Hawai‘i’s remarkable landscapes. Founded in 1980 as Princeville Airways, the company was renamed Island Air in 1992 and has been proudly serving the islands of Hawai‘i for more than 35 years.

For more information about Island Air or to make a reservation, visit www.islandair.com or call (800) 652-6541. Let us know how we are doing on Yelp or TripAdvisor or just stay connected by liking Island Air on Facebook at www.facebook.com/islandairhawaii, or follow @IslandAirHawaii on Twitter and @IslandAir_Hawaii on Instagram.

West Hawaii Forum – Hawaii’s Climate Change Challenge

How prepared is Hawai’i for the climate changes now underway that affect our daily lives?climate-changeSea level rise, super storms, flooding of shoreline and low lying island areas, erratic and decreasing trade winds, declining rainfall, warming temperatures with agricultural consequences, impacts to Hawaii’s marine ecosystem and fisheries; and the list of impacts goes on.

Don’t miss this all important November 17th forum from 6pm – 8pm at the West Hawaii Civic Center, Council Chambers. For more details visit: http://www.westhawaiiforum.org/event/hawaiis‐climate‐change‐challenge/

Forum Presenters

  • Bruce S. Anderson, PhD., DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) Administrator
  • Henry Curtis, Executive Director, Life of the Land
  • Abby G. Frazier, Ph.D., Pacific Islands Climate Science Center (PICSC)
  • Scott Glenn, AICP, Director, State of Hawaiʻi Office of Environmental Quality Control

Forum Moderator

  • Bill Bugbee, Director, Community Enterprises

Join the Community on Thursday, November 17th, as experts explain the challenges that Climate Change poses and the near-term actions Hawai’i County and the state may take.

3.7 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Volcano Area of Big Island

A 3.7 magnitude earthquake struck the Volcano area of the Big Island today.

37-volcanoThis follows the 3.6 magnitude earthquake that shook the same area of the Big Island yesterday.

Hawaii State Judiciary Celebrates Pro Bono Week

The National Pro Bono Week Celebration, from October 23- 29,  focuses attention on the legal work that lawyers do free of charge to increase access to justice for all.  The Hawaii State Judiciary has been ranked among the top three states in the country for access to justice initiatives and volunteer attorneys play a critical role by assisting individuals who cannot afford an attorney.

judiciaryOne way that attorneys volunteer is through the Hawaii State Judiciary’s Access to Justice Rooms and Self-Help centers in courthouses statewide.  Since January of this year, more than 2,600 people have been assisted with civil legal issues thanks to the work of these volunteer attorneys.

“Many individuals in our community have critical questions about how to better navigate the legal system,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.  “For example, how to request a temporary restraining order, address landlord-tenant disputes, or handle issues impacting their family like adoption, child custody, and divorce.  These volunteer attorneys provide Hawaii residents with a great service by sharing their time, expertise, and professionalism.”

To thank the volunteer attorneys, the Hawaii State Judiciary will be participating in series of events planned during National Pro Bono Week and through the duration of the year:

Monday, October 24, 2016- Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii (VLSH) launched a new service called “Hawaii Online Pro bono,” and is part of the American Bar Association Free Legal Answers national project.  Hawaii Online Pro bono (HOP) allows income-qualifying residents to simply register and post a question on a secured website (Hawaii.Freelegalanswers.org) where it will be reviewed and responded to by a volunteer attorney who is a member of the Hawaii State Bar Association.

“The goal of HOP is to provide an additional tool for individuals who cannot afford an attorney,” said Michelle Acosta, Executive Director of VLSH. “This free service enhances options for rural residents to ‘HOP’ on to the website anytime to seek answers to basic legal questions and get high quality responses that will help them better understand their situation and assess their options.”

VLSH hopes that the public will take advantage of this free service and is also encouraging more local lawyers to volunteer.  All interested attorneys should contact VLSH.  Once registered, attorneys can “HOP” on anytime, login from anywhere, choose a question to respond to, and then research and write the answer.

“We applaud Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii for its efforts on making this service available at our fingertips, for lawyers and the public alike,” said Justice Simeon R. Acoba, Access to Justice Commission Chair.  “The practice of law is a magnificent privilege, one that is meant to be rendered for the betterment of all – especially the needy and disadvantaged who are often the most underrepresented.  We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our civil legal service providers and volunteer attorneys and are grateful for this week to recognize their contributions to our community.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 (MAUI) – Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald attended a Maui County Bar Association Luncheon to thank the attorneys who volunteer at the Self-Help Center at Hoapili Hale.

Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 4:00pm- The Hawaii State Judiciary will be honoring volunteer attorneys at the 2016 Pro Bono Celebration at the Hawaii Supreme Court Courtroom.  The Pro Bono Celebration is sponsored by the Hawai‘i Access to Justice Commission with the support of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association and the Hawai‘i State Bar Foundation.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 (KAUAI) – Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald will be attending a Kauai Bar Association Coffee Hour to thank the attorneys who volunteer at the Self Help Center at the Puuhonua Kaulike Building (the Kauai Judiciary Complex).

Friday, December 2, 2016 (HILO, HAWAII ISLAND) – Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald will be attending a Hawaii County Bar Association Luncheon to thank the attorneys who volunteer at the Self-Help Center at Hale Kaulike (Hilo Circuit Court).

Friday, December 9, 2016 (KONA, HAWAII ISLAND) – Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald will be attending a West Hawaii Bar Association Luncheon to thank the volunteer attorneys who volunteer at the Self-Help Center at the Keakealani Building (Kona Circuit Court).

For more information about the Self-Help Centers and Access to Justice Rooms, please visit the Hawaii State Judiciary’s website at www.courts.state.hi.us.  To request photos or more information on any of these scheduled events, please contact the Communications & Community Relations Office at 539-4909.

3.6 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Volcano Area of the Big Island

A 3.4 3,6 (updated) magnitude earthquake shook the Volcano area of the Big Island at 10:37 this morning.

34-volcano-1026No tsunami was generated from this quake and no damage has been reported.

Kids Halloween Party Moved to Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces it has moved the Halloween Hilo Kids Party from Pana‘ewa Park to Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium located at 350 Kalanikoa Street in Hilo.

halloween-partyOpen to all ages, the free event will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 31.

The Department of Parks and Recreation apologizes for any inconvenience the venue change might cause and thanks the public for its understanding to utilize a different venue with more parking to accommodate the large number of participants.

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

Flash Flood Warning for the Big Island

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HONOLULU HAS ISSUED A FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR THE ISLAND OF HAWAII IN HAWAII COUNTY UNTIL 8:00 PM HST.

Flash Flood WarningAT 4:52 PM HST…RADAR AND RAIN GAGES INDICATED THAT HEAVY RAIN IS  PERSISTING OVER THE SLOPES IN THE SOUTH KOHALA AND NORTH KONA  DISTRICTS. GULCHES CROSSING HIGHWAY 190 BETWEEN PUUANAHULU AND WAIMEA WERE AT RISK OF OVERFLOWING. SOME OF THESE GULCHES ALSO  FLOW NEAR WAIKOLOA VILLAGE AND INTO PUAKO. RAINFALL MAY CONTINUE FOR SEVERAL MORE HOURS.

LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:

  • WAIKOLOA VILLAGE
  • PUAKO
  • PUUANAHULU
  • POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA
  • POHAKULOA CAMP
  • WAIKII
  • MAUNA LANI
  • WAIKOLOA BEACH

THIS WARNING MAY NEED TO BE EXTENDED BEYOND 8:00 PM HST IF HEAVY RAIN PERSISTS.  THIS FLASH FLOOD WARNING REPLACES THE PREVIOUSLY ISSUED FLOOD ADVISORY THAT WAS IN EFFECT FOR PORTIONS OF THE ISLAND OF HAWAII IN HAWAII COUNTY

Vacation, Leave/Comp Time Urged for State Employees in Anticipation Obama Traffic

Gov. David Ige is urging state department directors to be liberal in granting state employees vacation, leave and compensatory time to leave work early Wednesday afternoon.

President Barack Obama's motorcade leaves his rental home, Monday, Dec. 29, 2014, in Kailua, Hawaii, en route to the gym, during the Obama family vacation. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Barack Obama’s motorcade leaves his rental home, Monday, Dec. 29, 2014, in Kailua, Hawaii, en route to the gym, during the Obama family vacation. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Barack Obama’s arrival in Honolulu on Aug. 31, will result in significant closures of major thoroughfares and surface streets in the later afternoon and early evening, as the president is transported to scheduled engagements related to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Conservation Congress.

The governor is asking directors to grant vacation, leave and compensatory time as operations permit, to relieve traffic congestion on O‘ahu’s roadways and to allow thousands of state workers to meet their family commitments.

All state offices will remain open during regular business hours.

Hawai‘i Awarded Nearly $4 Million in Federal Grants to Study Alternative Transportation Funding Methods

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) awarded $3.998 million in competitive grant funding to the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) as part of the Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives (STSFA) program. The grant will allow the HDOT Highways Division to study and explore alternative methods of funding state and county transportation systems in the future.

Surface Transportation“Trends toward more fuel-efficient, hybrid and electric cars have a significant impact on transportation funding in Hawaiʻi because of our current reliance on the gas tax as a transportation funding mechanism,” said Gov. David Ige. “While I encourage the move away from fossil fuels as part of our commitment to a clean energy future, the resulting lower consumption reduces the funds available for highways projects. Moving forward, we need to explore new ways to fund our state highway system. We are thankful for FHWA’s commitment to help Hawaiʻi confront this challenge.”

HDOT Highways Division plans to use the $3.998 million grant to study alternatives to the gas tax by working with county and state officials and stakeholders to design new systems to obtain highways funding. These systems will then be tested with Hawaiʻi residents and visitors. One example of an alternative funding mechanism is road maintenance fees based on the number of miles driven, similar to how electric or water utilities are metered.

“Our goal is to design a system for highways funding that is fair, transparent, and easy to use for the public,” said Ford Fuchigami, director, Hawai‘i Department of Transportation. “We will continue to work toward creating a sustainable funding source for the many projects we have, to address the care and maintenance of Hawaiʻi roads.”

Dwindling gas tax revenues is a national problem. Congress created the grant program so that states can study alternatives that will help the federal government restore solvency to the Federal Highway Trust Fund. For Federal Fiscal Year 2016, a total of $15 million in STSFA funds were granted to states on a competitive basis.

Hawaii State Highway Bonds Sale Secures $247 Million, Saves State More Than $22 Million

On Aug. 10, 2016, the State of Hawai‘i successfully sold $204.485 million in Highway Revenue Bonds at the lowest interest rate in the history of the state’s Highway Revenue Bond Program. The sale raised $247.581 million.

Highways DivisionApproximately $120 million of the bond sale proceeds will be used to fund various highway projects throughout the state and about $127 million of the proceeds will be used to refinance existing state bonds. The refinancing will reduce debt service payments and save more than $22 million in interest costs.

“This financing is a tremendous success for the state, enabling continued investment in our infrastructure at a very affordable borrowing cost,” said Gov. David Ige. The low interest rates achieved demonstrate bond investors’ confidence in Hawai‘i’s economic strength and its continued practice of sound fiscal management. This is the result of years of discipline and conservative fiscal management.”

Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service and Fitch Ratings affirmed the state’s strong bond ratings of “Aa2”, “AA+” and “AA,” respectively. Each rating agency also attached “stable” outlooks on their ratings, indicating secure future economic and financial trends for Hawai‘i. Rating agencies cited the stability and diversity of revenue streams that are pledged as security for the bonds, as one of the key strengths of the credit.  Other strengths cited include strong legal provisions, high debt service coverage, and stable revenue trends, particularly in those sectors that are less reliant on economic activity.

The marketing plan for the bonds included investor presentations, both in-person in Hawai‘i and on the mainland, as well as internet-based presentations and conference calls. The extended marketing generated strong demand for the bonds from institutional investors.

There was very strong demand for the bonds by both Hawai‘i and national investors. Orders for the bonds amounted to 4.5 times the amount available for sale. The strong demand resulted in net interest rates on the bonds that ranged from 0.50 to 2.50 percent, with the average net interest rate less than 2.25 percent. This is the lowest rate the state has achieved since starting the Highway Revenue Bond Program in 1993.

“The success of the recent bond sale and the low interest rate on the offering is due in no small part to the hard work of the Highways Division in adhering to its sound fiscal and debt management policies,” said Ford Fuchigami, director, Hawai‘i  Department of Transportation. “We are extremely pleased with the demand for the bonds and the needed infusion of capital the Highways Division will receive from the sale.”

The bonds were sold by a financing team led by Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, serving as book-running senior manager and Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo Securities, serving as co-senior managers.

Scallops Linked to Hawaii Hepatitis A Outbreak Shipped to Nevada and California Too

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A illnesses linked to raw scallops.

Fast Facts

  • The FDA and CDC are supporting the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) in an investigation of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections linked to scallops supplied by Sea Port Products Corp. On August 17, 2016, Hawaii Department of Health reported that 206 people have been confirmed to have become ill with hepatitis A in that state.
  • On August 17, 2016, the FDA, Hawaii DOH, CDC and state partners informed Sea Port Products Corp that epidemiological, laboratory and traceback information indicates their scallops are the likely source of illnesses. On August 18, 2016, Sea Port Products Corp initiated a voluntary recall of frozen Bay Scallops produced on November 23, 2015 and 24, 2015. The products were distributed to California, Hawaii, and Nevada.  According to Sea Port Products Corp, the recalled products are not intended for retail sale. The FDA is working with the recalling firm to ensure their recall is effective and that recalled product is removed from the market.
  • Restaurants and other retailers should not sell or serve the recalled Bay Scallops. According to Sea Port Products Corp, the recalled products are not intended for retail sale. Consumers should ask the restaurant or retailer where their scallops came from to make sure they do not eat recalled Bay Scallops from Sea Port Products Corp.

What is the Problem and What is Being Done About It?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are supporting the State of Hawaii in an investigation of hepatitis A illnesses linked to raw scallops.

According to the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), 206 people have been confirmed to have become ill with hepatitis A. Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 12, 2016 to August 9, 2016. All cases have been in adults and 51 have required hospitalization.

The FDA’s traceback investigation involved working with Hawaii DOH to trace the path of food eaten by those made ill back to a common source. The traceback investigation determined that Sea Port Products Corp imported the scallops that were later supplied to certain Genki Sushi locations in Hawaii, where ill people reported eating.

On August 17, 2016, FDA laboratory analysis of two scallop samples, which were collected on August 11, 2016, were confirmed positive for hepatitis A. These samples were imported by Sea Port Products Corp.

The FDA, CDC and state partners immediately informed Sea Port Products Corp that epidemiological, laboratory and traceback information indicates their scallops are the likely source of illnesses. On August 18, 2016, Sea Port Products Corp initiated a voluntary recall of frozen Bay Scallops produced on November 23, 2015 and 24, 2015. The products were distributed to California, Hawaii, and Nevada. According to Sea Port Products Corp, the recalled products are not intended for retail sale. The FDA is working with the recalling firm to ensure their recall is effective and that recalled product is removed from the market.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter — even in microscopic amounts — from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces of an infected person (fecal-oral route).

What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis A?

Illness occurs within 15 to 50 days of exposure and in adults includes fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool.

Who is at Risk?

Hepatitis A is a disease that originates in and is spread by people, rather than animals. It can occur  when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate hand hygiene. However, food (as is suspected in this outbreak) or water contaminated with HAV can cause outbreaks of disease.

In rare cases, particularly in patients with pre-existing severe illness or who are immunocompromised, HAV infection can progress to liver failure and death.  People who have underlying liver conditions or pre-existing severe illness, or who are immunocompromised, should be vaccinated for HAV.

What Specific Products were Recalled?

On August 18, 2016, Sea Port Products Corp initiated a voluntary recall of frozen Bay Scallops produced on November 23, 2015 and 24, 2015.

scallops

The products were distributed to California, Hawaii, and Nevada. According to Sea Port Products Corp, the recalled products are not intended for retail sale.

What Do Restaurants and Retailers Need To Do?

Retailers and other food service operators should not sell or serve the recalled products. These operations should also:

  • Wash and sanitize display cases and refrigerators where potentially contaminated products were stored.
  • Wash and sanitize cutting boards, surfaces, and utensils used to prepare, serve, or store potentially contaminated products.
  • Wash hands with hot water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
  • Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators who have processed and packaged any potentially contaminated products need to be concerned about cross contamination of cutting surfaces and utensils through contact with the potentially contaminated products.

What Do Consumers Need To Do?

Water, shellfish, and salads are the most frequent foodborne sources of hepatitis A. You can avoid Hepatitis A transmission from seafood by thoroughly cooking it. Hepatitis A can be transmitted from person to person. Consumers should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures.  Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food. Consumers should thoroughly wash their hands after using the bathroom and changing diapers to help protect themselves from hepatitis A, as well as other foodborne diseases.

Consumers should ask the restaurant or retailer where their scallops came from to make sure they do not eat recalled Bay Scallops from Sea Port Products Corp.

The FDA has provided information on selecting and serving fresh and frozen seafood safely.  Some people are at greater risk for foodborne illness and should not eat raw or partially cooked fish or shellfish. These susceptible groups include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Young children
  • Older adults
  • Persons whose immune systems are compromised
  • Persons who have decreased stomach acidity

If you are unsure of your risk, ask your healthcare provider.

Who Should be Contacted?

Contact your healthcare provider if you think you may have become ill from eating raw scallops.

The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern time, or to consult http://www.fda.gov.

Hawaii Governor Announces Opening of Section 8 Waiting list for First Time in Decade

Gov. David Ige announced that the Section 8 waiting list is opening on O‘ahu for the first time in 10 years. There is currently no one on the waiting list, which will reopen on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016 for families under the first tier of preferences which includes homeless individuals and families, victims of domestic violence, and families involuntarily displaced. More than 8,000 people have found housing through this program in the last decade.

On April 8, 2016, Governor David Ige proclaimed April "Fair Housing Awareness Month."

On April 8, 2016, Governor David Ige proclaimed April “Fair Housing Awareness Month.”

“We know that affordable housing is the primary concern for many families in our state,” Gov. Ige said. “Today’s announcement shows progress and confirms there is movement through the system.”

The state has worked diligently to increase access to housing by establishing an online application process. It estimates that approximately 12,000 new applications will be accepted before the list closes at midnight on Aug. 18, 2016.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to work with homeless service providers to access the online application portal.

Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority Executive Director Hakim Ouansafi acknowledged Hawai‘i’s landlords who make their properties available to Section 8 renters.  There are currently more than a thousand landlords participating in the program, a 375 percent increase over the last decade. “Each landlord provides more than a home to a local family,” said Ouansafi. “Landlords who open their properties to Section 8 renters provide the stability families need to thrive in our community. Applying for Section 8 has never been more convenient. Now applicants can even submit their online application from their mobile devices.”

For more information about the Section 8 program or the online application process, go to www.hpha.hawaii.gov.

Hawaii Jury Questionnaires to be Mailed Out for 2017

Every August, the Hawaii State Judiciary mails juror questionnaires to individuals who have a Hawaii state driver’s license or are registered to vote in the State of Hawaii.

questionaireThis year, beginning August 15, 2016, approximately 235,000 juror questionnaires will be mailed to 85,000 residents on Oahu, 55,000 in Maui County, 70,000 on the Big Island and 25,000 on Kauai.  The questionnaires are used to help select potential jurors who may be eligible to serve in 2017.

Those who receive a questionnaire have 10 days to complete and return the questionnaire to the Jury Pool Office.  Anyone who fails to respond may be penalized.

To be eligible to serve as a juror, you must be at least 18 years old, a citizen of the United States, a resident of Hawaii, and able to read and understand English.

Hawaii Department of Education Advises on Heat Safety

With the new school year beginning Aug. 1, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) reminds schools and parents about health guidance on preventing heat illness.

Portable ACs installed as temporary supplemental cooling in some of Hawaii's hottest classrooms.

Portable ACs installed as temporary supplemental cooling in some of Hawaii’s hottest classrooms.

“We have been working hard to cool classrooms across the state, however, with increased heat and humidity, it’s important to revisit tips on preventing heat exhaustion,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “In addressing heat concerns, we met with Principals to discuss options of moving students to cooler areas of their campuses if necessary.”

Next week, letters from HIDOE and the Department of Health will be sent home to parents providing health recommendations, which include helping students prepare for hot days.

A year ago, high temperatures prompted HIDOE to post Heat-Related Guidelines in all classrooms and school offices. Those guidelines are also posted on the Department’s website.

Meanwhile, HIDOE’s heat abatement efforts have resulted in more than 400 portable classrooms with heat reflective materials, 139 classrooms installed with ceiling fans, 109 classrooms equipped with portable ACs, and upgrades to electrical systems at schools across the state.

Work towards the Governor’s goal of installing air conditioning units in 1,000 classrooms is also ongoing. Learn more about the ongoing heat abatement projects.

Good Outdoor Ethics Encouraged as “POKEMON GO” Craze Impacts Hawaii

A DLNR Division of State Parks employee reports that two people searching for virtual reality Pokemon Go figures wandered into a sensitive heiau on Kauai where a cultural protocol was underway.

Pokemon Hawaii

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “Unfortunately, we are quickly seeing unintended consequences of this new application by Google, in the outdoor issues that the hunt for Pokemon characters via digital devices can create, for both cultural and natural resources here in Hawai’i and elsewhere.”

In the first week since the release of Pokemon Go, the media has reported on two men walking off a cliff in California while using the app.  This increases the potential of increasing public safety and unauthorized access problems for local people and visitors venturing into our state parks, onto our trails and onto beaches, when paying attention to electronics rather than trails and signs.

This phenomenon provides a good opportunity to remind people to practice good outdoor ethics.  Curt Cottrell, DLNR Division of State Parks Administrator reminds folks heading into the outdoors:

  • Be safe.  Use electronic devices responsibly and in emergencies to call for help. Distracted hiking, like distracted driving, can lead to accidents.
  • Stay on designated trails.  Follow all signs and closures.  Do not trespass, or enter natural or cultural areas where access is prohibited.
  • Carry out what you carry in.  Leave no trace.

“We want and encourage people to enjoy all of the outstanding natural and cultural resources  Hawai’i has to offer.  Given the release of Pokemon Go, this is an opportune time to remind everyone that these resources can and should be enjoyed in a pono way,” Case concluded.

Meet 90-Year-Old Dancer Dorothy Williams from America’s Got Talent #AGTDorothy

Hawaii has a new celebrity on their hands and she is 90-year-old Dorothy Williams.

Dorothy

90-year-old Dorothy Williams in her home in the Kaumana area of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Williams gained international fame last week as the 90-year-old stripper on America’s Got Talent that was awarded the “Golden Buzzer Award” from Nick Cannon and is now moving on to the “LIVE” show.

Williams is also known around the Big Island as "Yummy the Clown".

Williams is also known around the Big Island as “Yummy the Clown”.

Today, I had the chance to ask her a few questions over a few interviews and without revealing too much about her next appearance, this is what I’m able to release at this time.

Part I:

Part II:

Dorothy Williams 059

Williams can still be seen driving this car around town!

Williams leaves again for Hollywood this Sunday and she is scheduled to appear on the live show on NBC on Tuesday, July 26th at 7:00 pm.

It will be up to the audience and judges to decide if she goes on further but we all know that no matter how she does on the show… she will always be a part of our “Welcome Wagon” here on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Governor’s Every Student Succeeds Act Conference Draws Over a Thousand Participants

Gov. David Ige and the Governor’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Team hosted more than a thousand participants at the team’s first public conference today.

Governor Ige ProfileThe governor and ESSA Team invited students, teachers, principals, parents, education, business and community leaders as well as other interested stakeholders to the one-day summit at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

The conference offered opportunities to learn about ESSA and current best practices from inspiring thought leaders, policy experts and education leaders.

Participants also had the opportunity to engage in a variety of forums on key education topics and issues, as well as collaborate with others on innovative possibilities for a future-focused education system in Hawai‘i.

“As other states begin to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, they are looking to Hawai‘i as Gov. Ige gives every citizen a voice to help determine the future of their education system. The Governor’s ESSA Summit is a first step for Hawai‘i’s students, principals, parents and teachers to accelerate education innovation in every classroom,” said Stephen Parker, Legislative Director, National Governors Association.

The ESSA Team hoped the summit lead to a shared vision for Hawai‘i’s public education, a deeper understanding of ESSA and a wide range of ideas and possibilities for a future focused public education system. The team also collected valuable input and feedback for preliminary design ideas as the team creates a blueprint for Hawai‘i’s education system.


AGENDA:

7:00     Registration

7:50     Opening

8:00     Welcome by Jade Raquel, Grade 11, McKinley High School

8:05     Welcome Message – DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi

8:10     Welcome Message –  BOE Chairperson Lance Mizumoto

8:15     ESSA Presentation –  U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, Peter Oppenheim, Education Policy Director, and Lindsay Fryer, Education Policy

Counsel

8:25     Summit Keynote – Governor David Ige

8:55     Summit Keynote – Ken Kay, EdLeader 21

9:55     ESSA Presentation – Lee Posey, National Conference of State Legislatures

10:10   BREAK

10:30   Concurrent Session #1 (choice of breakout session)

11:25   Concurrent Session #2 (choice of breakout session)

12:20   LUNCH

12:50   Concurrent Session #3 – Listening and Learning Session – collecting input and feedback

2:45     ESSA Message – Stephen Parker, National Governors Association

3:05     Closing Message –  First Lady Dawn Ige

3:20     EVALUATION AND CLOSING

Hawaii Relaunches “Fight the Bite” to Battle All Mosquito-Borne Diseases

As summer brings to Hawaii increased travel to and from the state, top state and local officials, including Governor Ige and Mayors Arakawa, Caldwell, Carvalho, and Kenoi stood together today to demonstrate a concerted statewide effort to “Fight the Bite” and keep Hawaii free of diseases spread by mosquitoes.

Fight the Bite at Capital

The public education campaign has been relaunched by the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) during National Mosquito Control Awareness Week and expanded to include all mosquito-borne diseases that pose a threat to Hawaii, such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for Zika at the highest level of activation following action by the World Health Organization (WHO), which declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern over the Zika virus and the health problems it can cause.

In April, a team from Hawaii attended the CDC’s Zika Action Plan Summit, and this month, DOH requested federal funds totaling approximately $4 million to support statewide Zika-related control, monitoring, and prevention efforts. Federal funds are being made available through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement; Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Grant; and Hawaii Birth Defects Surveillance, Intervention, and Follow-up for Zika Virus Grant.

Last week, Hawaii also participated as one of a few selected states in a Zika response exercise in Washington D.C. “Hawaii is fortunate none of these diseases are endemic or native to our state, and we need to work together to make sure it stays this way,” said Gov. David Ige. “We are part of a nationwide effort to combat diseases spread by mosquitoes, and with the Department of Health leading the charge to bring partners together to raise awareness about mosquito prevention, I’m confident that communities will come together, as our state and county leadership have done, to ensure the safety of our islands.”

Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler added, “Mosquito season in Hawaii is year-round, but with increased travel and more outdoor activities during the summer months, we need to be on our guard and keep residents and visitors well-informed about mosquito-borne diseases and how to reduce the chances of outbreaks in our state. Hawaii has been identified as one of the nation’s higher risk areas for the potential spread of the Zika virus so we hope people will keep mosquito prevention and control top-of-mind all year long.”

The revamped “Fight the Bite” campaign has two key components. The first comes on the heels of the recent Hawaii Island dengue fever outbreak, which began in October 2015 and continued through the spring of this year. As a follow up to the intense response to 264 cases of dengue fever, that likely began as a result of an infected traveler, DOH coordinated with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and county emergency management/civil defense agencies to develop a response plan specifically for mosquito-borne diseases. It outlines ongoing preparedness activities to take place when there are no cases, as well as response measures for all imported cases and measures in the event of infected mosquitoes transmitting a disease locally.

The second component includes a research-based public education campaign that leverages numerous broadcast and social media channels to build awareness about mosquito-borne disease prevention. Starting in early July, Hawaii residents can expect to hear “Fight the Bite” messages on local radio and television stations statewide, and see graphics in malls and shopping centers. The $250,000 media campaign is being funded by the state and will include community engagement activities to spearhead and encourage grassroots efforts to reduce mosquito breeding areas across the state. All resources will be made available to the public at the redesigned campaign website at www.FightTheBiteHawaii.com.

DOH is coordinating closely with tourism officials to ensure the “Fight the Bite” message reaches visitors to Hawaii. With the support of the Hawaii Tourism Authority and State Department of Transportation, people can also expect to see updated “Fight the Bite” information this year in key points-of-entry, such as airports and harbors.

“We are working together with our travel industry partners to educate their workers, guests and customers,” said George D. Szigeti Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO. “We all need to do our part to protect Hawaii from mosquito-borne illnesses.” Educational outreach to youth is also an important piece of the campaign. “Many educators working at the Department of Education already offer information about mosquito-borne disease prevention to students,” said Deputy Superintendent Stephen Schatz. “DOH and DOE are working to identify new opportunities and to train staff so that they may better educate Hawaii’s students.”

For more information about the education campaign, response plan, and mosquito-borne diseases and how to prevent them, visit www.FightTheBiteHawaii.com.