Hawaiʻi Island police have positively identified the victim of the shooting Monday (May 20) in the Nanawale Estates subdivision. He is identified as 40-year-old Mateo D. Balinbin Jr. of Nanawale Estates.
Balinbin’s autopsy, originally planned for today, has been rescheduled for Wednesday (May 22).
Seon Keoni Aki of Nanawale Estates, who was arrested Monday on suspicion of second-degree murder, remains at the Hilo police cellblock without charges while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.
U.S. DOE Approves Hawaii’s New School Accountability and Improvement System – Strive HI Performance System
Strive HI Performance System replaces components of federal NCLB requirements
The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) is pleased to announce it has received federal approval today for a new Strive HI Performance System designed to ensure all students graduate college- and career-ready. The redesigned school accountability and improvement system approved by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) replaces many of the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) with multiple measures of success to meet the needs of Hawaii’s students, educators and schools.
“Approval to move forward with the Strive HI Performance System validates our strategic direction and allows us to build on Hawaii’s successes,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “With the new system, we are more focused on college- and career-readiness, rewarding high-performing schools and customizing support to students, educators and schools with strategies proven in the Zones of School Innovation.”
After winning a Race to the Top grant in 2010, HIDOE established two Zones of School Innovation (ZSI) that targeted support for struggling schools in rural or remote, hard-to-staff areas serving the largest population of native Hawaiian and economically-disadvantaged students in the state.
The Strive HI Performance System is a culmination of work by Hawaii educators, parents, community groups, and higher education. It replaces NCLB’s most ineffective and outdated components with meaningful benchmarks aligned with goals of the HIDOE/Board of Education State Strategic Plan:
The Strive HI Performance System not only reflects the State Strategic Plan, it aligns and connects with state education policies and initiatives including Common Core State Standards, updated assessments, more rigorous diploma and graduation requirements, successful school improvement strategies in the ZSI and robust teacher and principal evaluation and support systems.
“We are proud of the work happening at every level of Hawaii’s public education system to prepare students for real-world demands and provide better data, tools and support to students, educators and schools,” Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe noted. “Now, with the approval of the Strive HI Performance System, we’ve unlocked the potential of all these efforts to work together in a coherent way to support success.”
HIDOE will host a webinar on May 28, 2013 to provide more information about the new system.
Webinar: Overview of Strive HI Performance System: Hawaii’s new school accountability and improvement system
Date: May 28, 2013
Time: 9 – 10 am HST
Register now: https://hvln.webex.com/hvln/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=733937907
event password: striveHI
HIDOE will work closely with Complex Area Superintendents and principals this summer to ensure school leaders and educators are positioned for successful implementation of the Strive HI Performance System in the coming school year.
For more information, visit HIDOE’s new Strive HI Performance System webpage at www.hawaiidoe.org/strivehisystem.
Filed under: Announcements, Education, Hawaii, Kids, National Affairs, Something New?, State Affairs | Tagged: Education reform, Hawaii, Hawaii Department of Education, No Child Left Behind Act, Strive HI Performance System, United States Department of Education | Leave a Comment »
Please help the children and young adults that desire to come to the Big Island from the disaster area of Fukushima, Japan, in July and August, 2013 by attending the Fukushima Friends Relief Concert on May 26th at the East Hawaii Center for Spiritual Living.
About 20 young people with chaperones from 5th grade up are coming to the Big Island to receive respite, rest, and fun from July 15-Aug 26.
A group will be providing food, shelter, and transportation for one month which is costly. In addition, some of you may not know, but, these children and young adults have suffered the earthquake, tsunami, family suicides, survival camps, and high radiation exposure for 2 years. They are in need of fresh air, ocean swimming, and rest for their physical and mental health. They have been living inside locations without being able to play outside, touch the ground, or eat Fukushima food because of the radiation dangers. Please help us provide for these young people. Please come to the concert or you may donate any amount to the fund.
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Big Island, Community, Entertainment, Hawaii, Kids, National Affairs, Puna | Tagged: 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Fukushima, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Fukushima Prefecture, Hawaii, Japan, Youth | Leave a Comment »
More Hawaii public school students from the Class of 2012 enrolled in college compared to the previous year’s graduates, and they were better prepared for mathematics and English courses, new figures show.
The new College and Career Readiness Indicators reports, released today by Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education and the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE), demonstrate improvements by public school students at every step of the college-readiness pipeline. Among the highlights:
· The percentage of students taking Advanced Placement exams increased to 24 percent.
· College enrollment among graduates increased from 53 percent to 54 percent.
· The percentage of students who enrolled in a University of Hawaii campus in college-level math (24 percent) and college-level English (42 percent) both increased by four percentage points over the class of 2011.
· The percentage of students requiring remedial classes dropped to 31 percent in English and remained at 36 percent for math.
“This new data is very encouraging, and the upward trend in college-going rates is a positive sign for our students and the state’s economic outlook,” said DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Our culture around using data for improvement has changed considerably. The College and Career Readiness Indicators reports provide school administrators and educators with a diverse set of data that will help inform critical decision-making to ensure our graduates are ready to enter college and compete in a global workforce. The improvements on all of the indicators reflect our ongoing statewide reforms and we expect continued improvement over time.”
A number of high schools made significant, double-digit percentage gains in college-going rates over a two-year period. Kapaa High on Kauai increased its rate by 13 percentage points, to 59 percent for the class of 2012 compared to 46 percent for the Class of 2010. Farrington High’s rate rose by 12 percentage points, to 48 percent from 36 percent, and rates for Pahoa and Baldwin high schools jumped 11 percent over the same two-year period.
“The College and Career Readiness Indicators reports are an important tool to measure the college readiness of our public high school students, and to gauge progress on their assessments and college remediation rates. This information is invaluable to the Hawaii P-20 goal of 55 percent of working age adults having a 2- or 4-year college degree by 2025,” said Karen Lee, executive director of Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education. “We are very pleased to see college-going rates and college preparation increase over the past three years.”
The College and Career Readiness Indicators (CCRI) reports are an annual collaboration between the Hawaii State Department of Education and the University of Hawaii, coordinated by Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education, to present information on how well Hawaii public school graduates are prepared for college. Hawaii’s CCRI reports are continuously recognized by national organizations, including the Education Sector, the Data Quality Campaign, Achieve, and the National Governors Association, as a leading example of both collaboration among K-12 and higher education and for providing useful information on college readiness. The full reports can be found at: http://www.p20hawaii.org/CCRI2012
Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, a statewide partnership led by the Executive Office on Early Learning, the Hawaii State Department of Education and the University of Hawaii System works to strengthen the education pipeline from early childhood through higher education so that all students achieve college and career success. Hawaii P-20’s partners share a sense of urgency about the need to improve Hawaii’s educational outcomes in an increasingly global economy, and have established a goal of 55% of Hawaii’s working age adults having a 2- or 4-year college degree by 2025. For more information, visit http://www.p20hawaii.org.
The Hawaii State Department of Education’s mission states: We serve our community by developing the academic achievement, character, and social-emotional well-being of our students to the fullest potential. We work with partners, families and communities to ensure that all students reach their aspirations from early learning through college, career and citizenship. For more information, visit http://www.hawaiidoe.org.
Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a 27-year-old former resident of Pāhoa with several offenses stemming from incidents that occurred in the Puna District last weekend.
On May 4, at 8:05 pm, Phillip Jon Richardson, who has no permanent address, was arrested at a home on 18th Avenue in Hawaiian Paradise Park. The 28-year-old female victim reported that as she was dropping off a relative at the residence, the suspect opened her car door, identified himself as a police officer and demanding the car keys. The victim said that the suspect grabbed her and was forcibly trying to pull her out of the vehicle in an attempt to take the vehicle. During the confrontation, another relative in the same vehicle used his cell phone to call 911. However, the suspect removed the phone from the 76-year-old victim before he could complete the call.
The 28-year-old victim managed to call a 29-year-old man on her cell phone to ask for assistance. As he arrived at the property, the suspect then attempted to enter the 29-year-old man’s vehicle. When he was unable to do so, the suspect reached into the vehicle, grabbing the victim’s arm and attempted to open the vehicle’s door. The suspect reportedly left the scene in a pickup truck.
A short time later, police received a report of a pickup truck ramming into a house on 17th Avenue, causing damage to the wooden structure. A 36-year-old female occupant of the residence told police that the male driver exited the truck and was seen entering her house through a window. As police arrived in the area, the pickup truck was observed fleeing the scene. The suspect abandoned the truck and fled on foot into the bushes. The victim discovered that a safe had been stolen from the house and a parked vehicle on the property had been entered with items removed.
During the investigation, police also received a report from a 63-year-old man from 1st Avenue, who informed police that while in his house, a pickup truck pulled into his property and the male suspect forced his way into the victim’s home and removed a computer before fleeing the area.
No one was seriously injured during these crimes.
Richardson was being held in the police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.
At 7 p.m. Monday (May 6), after conferring with prosecutors, detectives charged Richardson with two counts of second-degree attempted robbery, one count of phone ripping, one count of impersonating a law enforcement officer, two counts of first-degree burglary, one count of first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, one count of fourth-degree criminal property damage and one count of resisting an order to stop. Richardson’s bail was set at $83,000. He was scheduled to make his initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon (May 7).
Upon the completion of the state’s first Transformation Internship Program (TIP) session, Gov. Neil Abercrombie recognized the spring 2013 participants in a special ceremony held today in Executive Chambers. The innovative internship program provides Hawaii undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to work alongside innovators within state government and gain hands-on experience in a wide range of areas.
“TIP represents an investment in those who have likewise invested in themselves through higher learning,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “This public-private partnership offers a unique opportunity for college and university students to gain training and experience while taking part in our ongoing transformation of state government. The students emerge ready and empowered to take an active and leading role in shaping Hawaii’s future, particularly as they begin their respective careers in an increasingly technological global marketplace.”
At the ceremony, the Governor presented certificates of appreciation to more than 20 students able to attend with friends and family (A total of 45 students participated in the spring session). He also recognized state Chief Information Officer (CIO) Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia, Deputy CIO of Business Transformation Randy Baldemor, Department of Human Resources Development (DHRD) Deputy Director Leila Kagawa, and Enterprise Honolulu President and CEO Pono Shim for their part in the session’s success.
In December 2012, the state Office of Information Management Technology (OIMT), led by Bhagowalia, first announced the internship program in partnership with DHRD and Enterprise Honolulu, which provided featured speakers to enhance the program.
In addition to OIMT and DHRD, participating state agencies included the Departments of Agriculture, Public Safety and Taxation, with students participating from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Kapiolani Community College, Brigham Young University – Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific University, and University of Phoenix.
Through the program, students had the opportunity to:
- earn academic credit while gaining “real-world” experiences;
- participate in meaningful work assignments relevant to academic area of study;
- apply business, communications, public administration, information technology, and engineering classroom concepts to work assignments;
- be exposed to public service careers; and
- develop a network of professional contacts for future opportunities.
For example, students interning at OIMT were supervised by Baldemor and worked with program teams to evaluate challenges and assist in the implementation of the State of Hawaii’s IT Transformation Plan improvements throughout the state’s various departments. They interacted with, met and interviewed state employees, as well as summarize research results and present findings through presentations, reports, white papers, dashboards, and scorecards.
TIP is open to students in a wide range of majors including business administration, management information systems, computer science, social sciences (research focus), political science, public administration, human resource development, communications, engineering and other related fields.
The TIP Summer 2013 Session starts in June, with applications being accepted through June 8. Applicants must be currently enrolled as a graduate student or undergraduate student with junior or senior status, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher, and have the ability to work well in a team with a broad range of stakeholders (e.g. state employees, outside consultants and private organizations) and communicate effectively at multiple levels. Applications can be submitted online at: http://www.dhrd.hawaii.gov
Filed under: Abercrombie, Announcements, Education, Kids, State Affairs, Technology | Tagged: Chief Information Officer, Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie, Transformation Internship Program | Leave a Comment »
Police are searching for a Big Island man wanted in an abuse case.
He has lived in Hilo and Kona. He also has ties to the Kaʻū area. He is described as 5-foot-10, 200 pounds and in his 30s.
Police ask that anyone with information on his 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 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.
After a 12 km (7.5 mile) journey from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone through a lava tube, lava pours into the ocean in narrow streams at one of the eastern entry points.
Another entry point has two larger lava streams entering the water. The lava fragments due to cooling and disruption by the battering surf, and some of these pieces float on the water’s surface in front of the entry point (see lower left portion of photo).
Over the past week this spatter cone on the floor of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater has been the source of several large, but brief, lava flows on the crater floor. Today, the cone was producing pulsating gas jetting sounds.
“Towards a Green Economy: Introducing the GPI to Hawaii” adopts supplemental measurement to GDP
The Hawaii State Environmental Council today released its 2012 Annual Report, titled, Towards a Green Economy: Introducing the GPI to Hawaii.” The report introduces a new, holistic measure of prosperity and progress to Hawaii by introducing a new way to measure the state’s environmental health in relation to economic progress called the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI).
The GPI supplements the standard economic measure of growth, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which ignores key costs of economic activity and likely overestimates economic growth. GPI adjusts GDP by deducting environmental and societal costs, such as pollution or depletion of non-renewable resources that result from that growth.
“The GPI will serve as a standardized method for measuring the true health of the economy,” said study co-author Dr. Regina Ostergaard-Klem of Hawaii Pacific University.
Co-author Dr. Kirsten Oleson of the University of Hawaii at Manoa added that “Hawaii’s GPI initiative is a step towards balancing economic development and quality of life. By accounting for the environmental costs that result from economic activities, we can help ensure that we do not degrade ‘aina, forests, coasts and natural beauty.”
The calculation of this new indicator dovetails with state sustainability and open data initiatives, such as the Governor’s New Day Plan, Hawaii Sustainability 2050, Hawaii Green Growth Initiative, and Open Data portal.
The GPI provides a very different picture of economic prosperity that policy makers can use in policy evaluation and budget decisions. “The report’s analysis shows that while Hawaii’s GDP increased nearly every year over the past decade, the environmental costs of that economic growth can be significant,” Environmental Council Chair Mary Steiner explained.
For example, in 2000, the economic cost of environmental degradation across nine indicators including water pollution, forest loss, and nonrenewable energy depletion amounted to $6.2 billion. The report authors stress that this cost is likely a gross underestimate as available data is currently incomplete. The Environmental Council looks forward to improving these estimates in future years.
“With the publication of this report, Hawaii joins a group of innovative nations and states building more accurate indicators to guide policy while making environmental data more accessible and relevant to the public,” said Steiner. “Much of our people’s well-being is derived from things like healthy forests, productive landscapes, and clean beaches. Losing or degrading these assets has real economic cost.”
To view a copy of the annual report go to:
This year’s pilot GPI exercise is the initial phase of a long-term research project that seeks to quantify the value of our natural capital here in Hawaii, leading towards greener and more sustainable decision-making for Hawaii.
Filed under: Announcements, Environment, Hawaii, Health, State Affairs | Tagged: Genuine progress indicator, GPI, Gross Domestic Product, Hawaii, Hawaii State Environmental Council | Leave a Comment »
Commentary: Senator Josh Green – “Over $180 Million in Appropriations for West Hawaii Over the Next Two Fiscal Years”
I am pleased to report that this year the State Legislature has approved over $180 million in appropriations for West Hawai’i over the next two fiscal years to improve our region’s transportation, education, healthcare, and justice systems.
These important new investments in our community’s roads, schools, and hospitals will continue to create jobs, stimulate our economy, and build our community for years to come.
I am particularly pleased to report that this year the Legislature has made a strong commitment to complete the new Kona Judiciary Complex, a facility which represents a large state investment in the development of West Hawai’i and will house 230 full-time employees when it is completed. In 2011, the Legislature appropriated $12 million for land acquisition and design of the complex, and this year the Legislature approved an additional $9 million to begin construction with the intention of approving an additional $81 million to complete construction in the coming years.
This year the Legislature has also approved an additional $2.4 million to complete the construction of phase I of the new West Hawai’i Community College Campus at Palamanui, bringing the state investment in the new campus to $14.9 million, in addition to private investment of close to $20 million. This new campus will give our young people the option of pursuing higher education in West Hawai’i, and will serve as an educational resource for our entire community.
In addition, the Legislature has renewed the Hospital Sustainability Act, which will this year again bring more than $37 million in federal money to help strengthen and support hospitals in Hawai’i, including over $4 million to North Hawai’i Community Hospital on the Big Island.
Projects approved for West Hawai’i during the 2013 legislative session include:
- Kona International Airport – $113.5 million for airport improvements including construction of the first phase of the terminal expansion program, design and construction of an international arrivals building, and extensive security improvements
- Saddle Road Extension – $15.8 million for design of a new roadway extending the Saddle Road from the Hilo terminus to Queen Kaahumanu Highway, and land acquisition and construction of a road maintenance facility that includes maintenance and office structures
- Puuanahulu Shooting Range Facility – $13 million for plans, design, and construction of the Puuanahulu Shooting Range Facility
- NELHA Frontage Road – $9.7 million for construction of a frontage road and new connections to the Kaiminani Drive and Makako Bay Drive intersections on Queen Kaahumanu Highway
- Kona Judiciary Complex – $9 million for plans, design, and construction of a new Judiciary Complex in Kona
- Mamalahoa Highway – $6 million for construction of drainage improvements to Mamalahoa Highway in the vicinity of Puuwaawaa Ranch Road
- Kona Community Hospital – $4 million for renovations and upgrades to Kona Community Hospital
- Manuka Natural Area Reserve – $3.5 million for plans, design, and construction of a boundary fence at the Manuka Natural Area Preserve
- West Hawai’i Community College at Palamanui – $2.4 million for design and construction of the completion of phase I of the new West Hawai’i Community College Campus
- Kohala Community Hospital – $1 million for renovations and upgrades to Kohala Community Hospital
- Kealakehe High School – $300,000 for design of upgrades to an all-weather and synthetic track at Kealakehe High School
Please join me at the West Hawai’i Community Forum on Tuesday, May 14 at 6:00 pm at the Main Pavilion of Maka’eo (Old Airport) Park, along with our other legislators from West Hawai’i. Come join us for pupus and beverages, talk story, and share your ideas and concerns with your representatives in state government.
As your State Senator, I will continue to work hard every day to improve our transportation, education, healthcare, and justice systems and make our roads, schools, and hospitals in West Hawai’i the best that they can be.
Let’s keep working together to achieve even greater results in the coming years, and to make West Hawai’i and our entire state an even better place to live.
Josh Green, State Senator, District 3, West Hawai’i
“Passing the amendment without consulting with the other chamber affirmatively kills the bill. The draft that was passed out of conference in the form of HB622, HD1, SD1, CD1 continued the additional protections of a shield law above and beyond what is provided by Hawaii’s constitution for the press.
The floor amendment presented a very substantive change to the conference draft that was agreed upon by the House and Senate conferees. Every draft of the bill up until that point sought to make the shield law permanent. To introduce such a substantive change, moments before the Senate began its floor session, lacked the transparency and openness that the public expects and deserves. “
-Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria
- Commentary: UH Professor Gerald Kato “The Endgame of the Shield Law…” (damontucker.com)
- Hawaii news coalition: Senate killed shield law (staradvertiser.com)
- Lawmakers’ Disagreement Leaves Hawaii Journalists Without A Shield Law (civilbeat.com)
- House amends shield law to keep protections for journalists (staradvertiser.com)
- Hawaii Journalism Shield Law Protects the Public’s Right to Know (hawaiireporter.com)
- Media To Lawmakers: Kill The Hawaii Shield Law (civilbeat.com)
- Media: Shield Law Bill ‘Worthless’ After Senate Committee Amendments (civilbeat.com)
- Attorney Jeff Portnoy’s Response to Senator Hee’s Comments on Floor of Senate on April 17 – Re: Hawaii Shield Law (damontucker.com)
- Hawaii: Conference Committee Sends Bill Requiring Background Checks on Legally Possessed Firearms Back to House and Senate for Final Approval (hawaiireporter.com)
- New Hawaii shield law draft cuts out free, online-only media (staradvertiser.com)
Filed under: Announcements, Guest Commentator, Hawaii, Idiots, Legal, Legislature, National Affairs, Politics, Rumors, State Affairs | Tagged: Brickwood Galuteria, Clayton Hee, Hawaii, Hawaii shield law, HB 622, Reporters' privilege, Shield laws in the United States | Leave a Comment »
Hawaiʻi Island police have identified the man who died in an industrial accident in Mountain View on April 25 as 56-year-old Yves Morel of Raleigh, North Carolina.
An autopsy conducted Friday (April 26) determined that he died from high voltage electrocution
- Man Dies From Electrocution in Industrial Accident in the Puna District (damontucker.com)
The Hawaii State Legislature today voted unanimously in both the House and Senate to approve the state budget for the upcoming FY2013-2015 biennium.
HB200 CD1 appropriates funds for operating and capital improvement costs of the Executive Branch for the biennium fiscal years FY2013-2014 and FY2014-2015.
For FY2013-2014, the bill offers $6 billion in general funds and $11.8 billion in all other means of financing. For FY2014-2015, it appropriates $6.1 billion in general funds and $12 billion in all additional financing means. It also provides over $3 billion in funding for capital improvement projects (CIP) and $30 million Grants-In-Aid for non-profit organizations.
House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa) acknowledged that the fiscal outlook is looking positive but reiterated the importance of financial prudency, “our economy is recovering and while we have the money, it is now time to take a measured approach towards our State’s financial plan. This means passing a budget that takes care of our current needs, while also taking care of our financial obligations and reinvests in our future,” said Luke. “In this budget, we kept our promise to recapitalize the Hurricane Relief Fund and Rainy Day Funds and we have taken significant steps towards reducing our unfunded liabilities.”
The financial plan includes an addition of $160 million into the Hurricane Relief Fund and $50 million into the Rainy Day Fund. Most importantly, it includes appropriations of $217 million in the next biennium to begin payments towards the State’s unfunded liability and will continue to allocate funds every year ending in an allocation of $500 million in FY2019.
“We used the projected surplus to strengthen economic drivers to ensure increased revenue returns. To help the construction industry, the budget bill authorizes more than $1.3 billion in general obligation bond authorization for capital improvement projects statewide. Additionally, to support our number one industry our financial plan includes an $11 million increase to the Hawaii Tourism Authority to strengthen the marketing of Hawaii as a visitor destination. We also appropriated $6 million to assist our growing high technology industry in investment start ups and tax credits for research and development,” said Luke.
Other funding highlights include:
· Added $750,000 in general funds for the New Farmer Loan Program in FY14. This funding will enhance opportunities for new farmers to grow and expand, while also supporting the State in becoming more food self-sufficient.
· Added 10 positions and nearly $1.2 million over the biennium to the Plant, Pest, and Disease Control division to support the Apiary program on Maui, Kauai, and Kona, and various other programs aimed at protecting local agriculture from invasive species, as well as the Hawaii Queen Bee industry.
Consumer Protection and Commerce (CPC)
· Added 2 temporary positions and over $300,000 in special funds each year for the Mortgage Foreclosure Dispute Resolution Program, which handles disputes between owner-occupants and lenders.
· Added $190,000 in special and trust funds over the biennium to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs for public service campaigns aimed at educating consumers on a broad spectrum of consumer issues, including the dangers of hiring unlicensed contractors.
Economic Development and Business (EDB )
· Provided 3.69 temporary positions and $3 million in special funds over the biennium for the Hawaii State Energy Office Strategic Plan Programs to develop alternative energy resource related projects.
· Added $800,000 over the biennium to the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems Program (PISCES). This supports the PISCES center on Hawaii Island to build an aerospace research and development park in cooperation with NASA and other international organizations, to be able to test aerospace robotics on a similar terrain.
· Added $1.5 million in general funds over the biennium for the Hawaii Invasive Species Council in Forestry Resource Management and Development Division of DLNR. This restores funding to support invasive species control, bringing general funding closer to historical levels.
· Added $12.9 million in general funds for the Weighted Student Formula. This funding will go directly to classrooms to support educational activities for students, teachers and principals.
· Added $8.2 million in general funds in FY14 for a pilot program relating to Common Core Instructional Materials. This is the DOE’s initiative to give every child from grades 3-12 either a tablet or laptop to enhance their educational experience.
· Added $1 million in general funds in FY14 for Common Core Standards Assessment in Hawaiian. This funding creates a Hawaiian language Common Core Standards test for 350 third and fourth grade students enrolled in 14 immersion schools.
· Added $700,000 in FY14 in general funds for library books and materials. Includes funding for both physical books and e-books. Libraries have not received general funding for materials for 4 years.
Energy and Environmental Protection (EEP)
· Added 13 temporary positions to Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) for Watershed Management to continue management of watershed projects.
· Added 8 positions and $1.3 million for quality management and monitoring of environmental resources. These positions support programs for watershed and surface water quality monitoring, water reuse, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution control, federal and state clean water regulations, solid waste permitting and monitoring.
Higher Education (HED)
· Added nearly $1.2 Million over the biennium for The Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.
· Added 10 positions and $3 million in general funds in each year of the biennium to support activities and growth at the University of Hawaii at West Oahu campus.
· Added 9 positions and $3 million in general funds over the biennium for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Initiatives. This program enhances the professional development of middle school teachers in STEM subject matter areas.
· Added $1.4 million general funds each year for Aging and Disability Resource Centers.
· Added 1 position and $95,000 in the Children and Youth Services section to re-establish the Violence Prevention Coordinator position, which is responsible for statewide Domestic Violence program planning.
Human Services (HUS)
· Added $3.1 million for various social service programs including those to expand voluntary foster care to 21, increasing the clothing allowance for foster children, and developing Neighborhood drop-in Centers on Kauai.
· Added $750,000 in general funds in FY14 to expand the Housing First program to the Leeward coast of Oahu. This helps transition chronically homeless into affordable housing situations.
· Added 5 Counselors and nearly $875,000 over the biennium for the Office of Veterans Services.
Public Safety (PSD) & Judiciary (JUD)
· Added $327,000 in general funds over the biennium for the Automated Fingerprint Identification system maintenance. The system is used by the Honolulu Police Department and State Sheriffs in the field to check a suspect’s criminal history. This also includes facial recognition software which allows field officers to also check a suspect’s criminal records through photographs.
· Added 94 positions for the re-opening of the Kulani Facility on Hawaii Island, as part of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative to bring prisoners home.
· Added 10 Positions and $850,000 in general funds over each year of the biennium for additional security at courthouses statewide. These deputy sheriffs would provide additional security to courthouses on Oahu, Hawaii Island, and Maui.
· Added $161,886,000 in special funds over the biennium to highways division for special repairs and maintenance of roads statewide.
· Added 33 positions and over $2.3 million in special funds over each year of the biennium for additional janitorial support. Positions include: 32 janitors for Honolulu International Airport and 1 janitor supervisor for Kona International Airport, who will be tasked with improving the first and last impressions and overall experience of visitors by improving the quality of services and facilities at State airports.
Also approved today were the budgets for the Judiciary Branch and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
HB197 appropriates funds for operating and capital improvement costs of the Judicial Branch for the next biennium. The bill offers in general funding $145 million for FY2013-FY2014 and $144 million for FY2014-FY2015.
HB222 appropriates $3.1 million in FY2014 and $2.7 million in FY2015 in operating funds for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Following the ratification of a collective bargaining agreement by members of United Public Workers (UPW) Bargaining Unit 1, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today joined Mayors Alan Arakawa, Kirk Caldwell and Bernard Carvalho; UPW State Director Dayton Nakanelua; Hawaii Health Systems Corporation President/CEO Bruce Anderson; and others to sign a four-year contract for Hawaii’s blue collar public employees.
“This agreement demonstrates the positive result of negotiating in the spirit of partnership between the state, counties and the UPW,” said Gov. Abercrombie. “This four-year contract is a good deal for BU1 members, and it’s a win for taxpayers because of its affordability, allowing for compensation over the duration of a longer termed contract.”
The Governor also acknowledged the efforts of UH Manoa Industrial Relations Center Director Joyce Najita, whose mediation services greatly contributed to achieving consensus.
Effective July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2017, the four-year agreement includes consecutive 2 percent pay raised beginning Oct. 1, 2013, and thereafter every April 1 and October 1 for the duration of the contract. The contract also stipulates that the employer will pay a dollar amount for health insurance, based on 60 percent of a Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund benchmark plan.
In addition, improvements were made in contract language concerning consecutive hours worked, stand-by pay, military leave, and consultative calls.
Bargaining Unit 1 is composed of blue collar public workers employed by the State of Hawaii, including the Department of Education, University of Hawaii, Judiciary, and Hawaii Health Care System, as well as the counties.
The new Hawaii.gov portal just might be the coolest government website you have ever seen.
The touch-first design, Hawaiian themes, dynamic data and enhanced search represent a huge evolutionary step forward in government web sites.
Hawaii.gov is designed for mobile with a touch-first Responsive web design. Built for touch, speech, and with accessibility for all users, the new design showcases the very best in Web design thinking. Highlighting Hawaii’s diversity, native culture, and the uniqueness of each island, Hawaii.gov also provides a Web experience that truly reflects the Aloha State.
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Hawaii, Something New?, State Affairs, Technology | Tagged: Aloha State, Hawaii, Hawaii Convention Center, Hawaii Government Website, Hawaiian Islands | Leave a Comment »
High tech cameras placed at remote breeding sites are providing insight into the secret lives of Kauai’s endangered seabirds. As part of the Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project (KESRP), which is a state and federally funded project under the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife, in collaboration with the University of Hawaii Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, the 14 cameras were placed on Newell’s Shearwater and Hawaiian Petrel burrows during the breeding season last year to collect data on everything from the arrival of adults to the fledging of chicks.
“These cameras have provided us with a window into a side of the birds that we simply never see,” explained Dr. André Raine, KESRP coordinator. “Watching the birds returning to their burrows after a winter out at sea, preening each other at the burrow entrance or interacting with their chicks at night is really pretty special, but the cameras are also providing critical data to help save the birds from extinction.”
The cameras are set on a trigger mechanism to take photos when something passes in front of the burrow entrance. Once the cameras are triggered, they take a rapid series of photos and only stop when the movement has ceased. This means that the cameras record birds entering or leaving their nest sites, or chicks exercising in front of the burrows throughout the breeding season. As the birds only come into their colonies at night, cameras are fitted with infrared flashes so that the birds are not disturbed.
“We’ve recorded birds from the moment they arrive on Kauai in March to the time their chicks depart in October to December,” Dr. Raine continued. “The cameras are a great way to collect data on a whole range of behaviors, such as when the chicks fledge and how often adults come to the burrows to feed their offspring. In this way we are increasing our understanding of exactly what these birds are up to while they are on our island.”
The cameras have also highlighted the threat of invasive species to these endangered seabirds, a problem that is facing Hawaii’s endemic wildlife throughout the archipelago. Cameras have filmed burrows being visited by both feral cats and rats throughout the study period, and have even captured the gruesome moment when a chick was eaten alive by a large rat.
“One of the achievements of this work has been to highlight how vulnerable these birds are to introduced predators,” Dr. Raine said. “It doesn’t matter how remote the sites are, feral cats and rats are always present and these can have a dramatic impact on breeding colonies. The cameras showed that several of the burrows even had rat nests right at the burrow entrance and feral cats actively investigated burrows on multiple occasions.”
The collection of this type of data using the latest technology is important because Kaua’i holds 90 percent of the world’s population of the Newell’s Shearwater, making it vital for the global conservation of this species. The island also holds internationally important populations of the Hawaiian Petrel. The data from these cameras is therefore invaluable in terms of guiding on-going introduced predator control efforts in remote montane colonies.
To see a selection of videos taken from these cameras, visit the newly launched Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project website at http://kauaiseabirdproject.org/
- New Study Provides First Direct Evidence of Feral Cats in Hawaii Killing Endangered Hawaiian Petrel (damontucker.com)
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Education, Environment, Hawaii, Kauai, State Affairs, Technology | Tagged: Hawaii, Hawaiian Petrel, Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project, United States Fish and Wildlife Service | Leave a Comment »
Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a fatal industrial accident in the Puna District on Thursday morning (April 25).
At about 9:14 a.m., police and Hawaiʻi Fire Department medics received a report of an apparent industrial accident at a job site just off Route 11 near the North Kulani Road intersection in Mountain View.
Responding officers discovered that a 56-year-old man had been inspecting the electrical system for a newly installed water tank when he apparently was electrocuted from the energized system. A 51-year-old Honokaʻa man, who was working nearby, attempted to assist the victim. He was able to de-energize the electrical system but not before sustaining minor injuries from exposure to electrical current.
The victim was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 10:32 a.m.
Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section are conducting further investigation into this incident, which is classified as an industrial accident and a coroner’s inquest.
Police are awaiting positive identification and notification of the next of kin before releasing the name of the victim.
An autopsy is scheduled for Friday morning (April 26) to determine the exact cause of death.
I wanted to take this opportunity to provide some factual background information and to update you on the status of the Kohanaiki Shoreline Park, which will soon be dedicated to the County of Hawai‘i.
The park has been completed and the bathrooms and showers are now open to the public. A new public access suitable for vehicular use has been completed from Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway, and then continues laterally along the shoreline going south to and beyond all the popular surfing spots and camping beaches.
Road and Parking: The roadway and the parking areas are constructed according to a “Good Faith Agreement” negotiated in 2003 and under the direction of DLNR, the Army Corps of Engineers and the SMA permit. The jeep trail was specifically required by DLNR to be converted to pedestrian access once the park road was complete to protect the beach and oceanfront from the negative impact of vehicular use. Public access continues along the entire shoreline, with vehicular access to the turn-around south of the main bay, and from there, pedestrian (and bicycle) access to the National Park border along the Ala Kahakai trail.
Park Amenities and Camping: New bathroom and shower facilities are completed, and the 17 portable luas will remain in place. There are 122 parking stalls, located in nodes along the access road, with some overflow parking areas to be determined. Once the park is dedicated to the County, camping will be permitted 5 days a week for up to 80 people per night. Park hours for day use will be from 5:30 am – 9:00 pm. A traditional hale is being constructed in the park for cultural educational opportunities. There is a partnership in place including the County, landowners and community for monitoring of the park, security, maintenance and trash removal.
Anchialine Ponds: The pond management plan, approved by various governmental agencies, is being implemented under the supervision of the Army Corps of Engineers with ongoing restoration and maintenance. Non-native species have been removed and the ponds have been restored to a vibrant habitat.
Water Quality Monitoring Program: A comprehensive water quality-monitoring program, with input from the National Park, is in place to monitor the water quality for any potential impacts ofactivities at Kohanaiki. A drainage system has been installed to direct all drainage away from the ocean and ponds.
Golf Course Management Program: The golf course and landscaping is managed and certified under the Audubon Silver certification program – the only golf course to receive such certification in Hawai’i. Brackish water is used for irrigation of the golf course and landscaping. Primarily native, salt-tolerant species are being used for all landscaping.
Archeology: Lineal descendants have been consulted and involved in identifying cultural sites. Informational signage on selected archeological sites such as the Ala Kahakai trail, will be placed to help educate the public. A traditional hale is being constructed with full participation by community members where workshops and cultural activities will be conducted in the future.
For more information, please feel free to give me a call at 323-4280.
KAREN EOFF, Vice Chair, Hawai‘i County Council
District 8, North Kona
FOR ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON HOW THIS PARK CAME TO BE, PLEASE READ LETTER BELOW:
The real story
Very soon, a public shoreline park will be dedicated to the people of Hawaii at Kohanaiki.
This park is the result of more than 25 years of legal battles addressing Native Hawaiian gathering and access rights, community stewardship efforts, and finally a negotiated settlement agreement. The Kohanaiki Ohana, led by Angel Pilago, won the fight to protect vehicular access along the shoreline after court victories all the way from the county level to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 2003, an important agreement was reached between developer/landowner, the community and the County of Hawaii determining the future of Kohanaiki.
The precedent- setting 2003 “good faith agreement” was considered a template by then Mayor Harry Kim; an innovative and unprecedented plan, forged in the spirit of aloha by those who participated in the process.
Under the agreement, the developer is required to donate approximately 108 acres to the public (the county being the preferred entity) and to construct a coastal park, with camping areas, 121 parking spaces, public toilets and showers, a halau for cultural education and activities, as well as a mauka/makai access road and lateral vehicular access road along the shoreline.
The current jeep trail will close to vehicles to meet federal and state requirements to take cars off of the ancient Ala Kahakai trail to help connect 150 miles of pedestrian trails around the island.
In its place, a new vehicular access road for public use has been constructed just inland of the jeep road and will be open to the public from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. per the terms of the agreement.
All of the anchialine ponds, trails and historic sites will be restored. There will be an innovative approach to monitoring and maintenance of natural and cultural resources.
The agreement calls for a public/private partnership in the form of a committee made up of representatives of the community, the landowner and the county with equal one-third decision-making power and also shared responsibility of costs and labor for maintenance.
In return, the developer is allowed to construct 500 homes and a golf course, a portion of which is located on the 108 acres, with an exclusive easement granted back to the landowner. The golf course also provides a buffer between the public coastal park and the homes, which are to be built an average of 700 feet from the shoreline. The golf course will be open to the public one day a week. All of the provisions of the good faith agreement were incorporated into the Shoreline Management Area use permit that was granted to the developer in 2003. There were 88 conditions placed on the SMA permit.
To understand the significance and importance of the good faith agreement, we must remember what could have happened at Kohanaiki given the zoning entitlements on the property since 1980.
In 2003, an article in West Hawaii Today reported the agreed upon plans were “a far cry from the sprawling resort planned for the property in the 1980s by Kona Beach Development Venture and developer Nansay Hawaii.”
Original development plans called for more than 800 hotel rooms, six story-high buildings, specialty restaurants, more than 1,000 condos and homes and a golf course to be built around the anchialine ponds and on the coastline.
Public access would have been like other hotels — had it not been for the efforts and commitment of our community and our community leaders to minimize the impact of development at Kohanaiki.
The Kona community has long advocated for residents to have a role in land use planning. Development at Kohanaiki demanded citizens to fight for our coastline; to protect those activities and access rights that are enjoyed by our community, our quality of life, cultural practices and the environment.
Credit must also be given to all involved, including the late Rep. Patsy Mink, Uncle Leon Sterling, and Herb Kane; community groups, such as the Kohanaiki Ohana, Na Keiki Hee Nalu, Hui Hee Nalu, Public Access Shoreline Hawaii and Wave Riders Against Drugs; lineal and cultural descendants of the area; community leaders and elected representatives Virginia Isbell, Curtis Tyler, Pilago, Harry Kim and Billy Kenoi; Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, Sierra Club Legal Defense, Surfrider Foundation; local residents, businesses, attorneys and advisors; and especially the keiki surfers who continue to make us realize the importance of places like Kohanaiki.
The Kohanaiki Shoreline Park is the result of years of legal battles, collaboration and negotiation, and represents a willingness on the part of all stakeholders to share in the stewardship of this very special place.
Today, this same community that fought and won landmark Supreme Court cases to protect public access and gathering rights, that shaped the path of development on this land, can be proud of the coastal park that will soon be dedicated to the County of Hawaii to be enjoyed in perpetuity by future generations.
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Big Island, Community, County Council, Environment, Hawaii, Hawaii County Public Notices, Kona, State Affairs | Tagged: Councilwoman Karen Eoff, Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaii, Kohanaiki, Kohanaiki Shoreline Park, National Park | 1 Comment »
Hawaii Bill Seeks to Address the Employer-Union Trust Fund Unfunded Liability by Creating a Captive Insurance Company
A conference committee comprised of House and Senate members will meet tomorrow, 4/24/13, at 10:30am in room 325 at the State Capitol, to attempt to address differences in SB946 SD1 HD1 relating to the unfunded liability of the Employee Union Trust Fund (EUTF). One of the differences between the House version and the Senate version involves the proposed Captive Insurance Company which was inserted by the House from HB 1459 introduced by Rep. Romy Cachola (Sand Island, Mokauea, Kapalama, Kalihi Kai).
Cachola who authored HB 1459 issued the following statement on the eve of the conference meeting.
The purpose of the Employer-Union Trust Fund (EUTF) is to fund the healthcare needs of the State’s active employees, retirees, and their dependents (members). However, the ever increasing cost of health care and the resulting growth in health care premiums, coupled with decades of a ‘pay as you go’ approach has left the EUTF with an unfunded liability of about $18.2 billion.
Short of raising taxes, laying-off employees or reduce employee benefits; funding $520 million is nearly impossible due to competing needs to fund collective bargaining agreements, and new and existing programs.
The House Finance and Senate Ways and Means committees agreed to fund $100 million in FY14 and $117 million in FY 15. We need to do more than just setting aside a token amount of contributions, we need to find innovative ways to slow down, reduce, stabilize and fully fund the unfunded liability.
The State House of Representatives voted to endorse a proposal to the Senate under SB 946 SD1 HD1, which would jointly address the unfunded liability and create a program with alternative means of saving the state money. In addition to increasing the State’s contributions to pre-fund future retiree healthcare costs, the State is to create a captive insurance company within the EUTF that covers only government employees.
Here are the advantages of a State captive insurance company:
1. According to a report by the State of Hawaii Insurance Division there is a potential for the State to find savings of 5%-25% by creating a captive insurance company. At the current costs of $800 million in healthcare premiums, this would amount to a $40 million savings at the most conservative estimate. Once the said savings are realized, there will be no increase in healthcare premiums for both employer and employees the following year. These savings will also be placed in a reserve account for future use.
2. By insuring the public employee health benefit in a captive, the state and counties (employer) and EUTF members will not be susceptible to continuously increasing health insurance rates requested by health insurers.
3. Ability to directly negotiate prices with physicians, surgeons, hospital, and other healthcare providers which results to better understanding of actual costs of health care benefits from the actual providers of services.
4. Earning investment income on loss reserves for future claims payments that have not yet been paid.
5. Additional savings due to direct access to the wholesale price of reinsurance. Reinsurance is needed to protect the captive from catastrophic events.
Additionally, this out-of-the-box approach in addressing our unfunded liability through direct contributions and innovative cost-saving measures, demonstrate our serious commitment to solving this critical and difficult issue. This could translate into improving bond ratings allowing the state and county to float bonds at a lower interest rate and less debt service to fund large-scale infrastructure improvement projects.
The EUTF’s unfunded liability is not a new problem and it will not go away. A one year delay translates to over a billion dollars added to the current $18.2 billion liabilities. It will take new, innovative and bold action to resolve it.