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Informational Public Meetings for Hawaii County’s FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is at the end of a multi-year effort to update and modernize the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for Hawai‘i County.  The FIRM has been finalized and will become effective on September 29, 2017.  The opportunities to appeal the maps were over last year.  The FIRM will help community officials better identify known flood risks and will be used for flood insurance, land use, development, and regulatory purposes.  Use of the FIRM is required for the County’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which makes the County eligible for federal disaster aid in the event of a federally declared natural disaster.

Click to access the Flood Assessment Tool

The main purpose of these informational public meetings is:

To inform property owners, residents, and interested parties about the impacts the final Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) will have on flood insurance.  It will help them make an informed decision about flood insurance options and flood protection measures.  The details on the two informational public meetings are shown below:

  • Hilo – Wednesday, July 12, 2017, Aupuni Center Conference Room, 101 Pauahi St., Suite 1, Hilo, HI  96720, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Kona – Thursday, July 13, 2017, West Hawaii Civic Center, Bldg. G, 75-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy., Kailua Kona, HI  96740, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Doors open at 5:00 p.m., formal presentation starts at 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Personnel from FEMA, State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), and Hawai‘i County will be available to answer questions, concerns, and provide information on flood insurance and property specific flood zone determinations.

The final FIRMs are currently available for viewing at the Hawai‘i County Department of Public Works Engineering offices at either 101 Pauahi St., Suite 7 in Hilo (808 961-8327) or 74-5044 Ane Keohokālole Hwy., Building D, 1st  floor of the West Hawai‘i Civic Center in Kona (808 323-4850). They are also available for online viewing on the State of Hawai‘i’s Flood Hazard Assessment Tool (FHAT) at http://gis.hawaiinfip.org/fhat.  To learn how to view the preliminary maps using the FHAT, click on the tutorial link provided on the Hawai‘i NFIP Website http://dlnreng.hawaii.gov/nfip/.

Be advised that flood insurance rates will be based on the new flood data.  If a property is mapped into a high-risk area (an SFHA labeled with letters starting with “A” or “V”) on the new FIRM and the owner has a mortgage through a federally regulated or insured lender, flood insurance will be required when the FIRM becomes effective.  Property owners who obtain flood insurance before the FIRM becomes effective may be able to benefit from the NFIP’s “grandfathering” insurance rating process and pay a lower premium.

Everyone is at some risk from flooding, even those behind levees or in low or medium-risk areas. Therefore, FEMA encourages everyone to purchase flood insurance.  Property owners should contact their insurance agent or visit www.FloodSmart.gov for more information.

If you require special accommodations or auxiliary aid/ and or services to participate in this meeting, (i.e. Sign language interpreter, large print,) please call (808) 961-8321 by July 5, 2017.

For more information call Barett Otani, Department of Public Works Information and Education Specialist at (808) 961-8787.

Board Unanimously Approves Hawaii ESSA Plan for Submission

The Hawaii Department of Education Board of Education (BOE) unanimously approved the submission of the Hawaii Consolidated State Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA Plan) to the U.S. Department of Education. The plan will be submitted following a 30-day opportunity for Governor David Ige to sign it.

“We appreciate the many meetings and valuable input that led up to today’s Board action,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “This decision is one step forward in greatly helping our administrators who are now tasked with implementing the plan in time for the 2017-18 school year, which starts as early as two weeks for some of our schools.”

The ESSA Plan serves as Hawaii’s application for federal funds, providing resources for our schools to support students in achieving equity and excellence. The plan takes advantage of flexibility by leading with the state’s aspirations, goals and plans as described in the Governor’s Blueprint for Public Education and the joint Strategic Plan.

In testimony submitted by Farrington-Kaiser-Kalani Complex Area administrators, praised the process of developing the plan stating, “Ongoing participation for input and feedback via surveys and face-to-face meetings were provided to learn more about the direction of our Department. We understand that the ESSA plan aligns with our State Strategic Plan and provides overarching guidance while leaving discretion to the schools to determine customized priorities and needs of our community.”

Since January 2016, the Hawaii State Department of Education sought input from educational communities to inform development of the ESSA Plan. Engagement included:

  • 230 meetings to share information and gather feedback with legislative leaders, the Hawaii State Teachers Association, school leaders, the Hawaii State Student Council, and more;
  • 35 presentations and 450 pieces of testimony considered by the BOE; and
  • 458 online survey submissions providing feedback as part of a public comment period.

In his letter of support for the ESSA Plan, Governor Ige noted, “The past year has been unprecedented in the engagement of our statewide community in the development of our education blueprint, strategic plan, and state plan for ESSA. My heartfelt thanks goes out to all teachers, administrators, and community members who submitted testimony and provided input into this plan.”

For more information about the ESSA Plan, click here. To view today’s BOE presentation, click here.

McDonald’s of Hawaii to Start Serving Lobster Rolls for a Limited Time

McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii is giving lobster lovers a reason to celebrate. Starting June 28, McDonald’s of Hawaii will be selling the popular Lobster Roll in stores for a limited time. The Lobster Roll is made with 100 percent real North Atlantic lobster, mixed with mayonnaise dressing, and served atop crisp leaf and shredded lettuce on a buttered, toasted roll. A huge hit on the East Coast, McDonald’s of Hawaii is confident local residents will also enjoy the tasty sandwich.

“Hawaii residents are seafood lovers, so when the opportunity to bring the Lobster Roll to Hawaii arose, we knew we had to get onboard,” said Miles Ichinose, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator. “This is the first time in our company’s 49-year history of doing business in Hawaii that we will be serving the Lobster Roll and we look forward to sharing this unique sandwich with our customers.”

This summertime special is priced at $9.99 at participating restaurants and will only be here for a limited time, through the end of July or while supplies last. Each Lobster Roll is 290 calories and made with 100 percent all-natural lobster meat, with no additives or preservatives.

“Our lobster meat is a quality artisan product caught by veteran lobster fishermen, and is similar to what you would find at top seafood restaurants around the world,” said Ichinose. “We are constantly listening to what our customers are requesting and then responding by introducing unique quality menu items. We are confident the Lobster Roll will meet their expectations.”

To celebrate the launch of the Lobster Roll, McDonald’s of Hawaii will be hosting a social media contest that will begin at 8 a.m. on July 4. Customers can enter the contest on Facebook or Twitter by simply snapping a photo of themselves eating a Lobster Roll at McDonald’s. The first 10 customers who share their selfies on Facebook and Twitter will win a Lobster Roll prize pack (valued at $30) when they use the hashtags #LovinLobsterRollHawaii and #Sweepstakes. Winners will be notified by 5 p.m. on July 10, 2017. They will have seven days, until July 17, 2017 at 5 p.m., to claim their prize. For official rules and store information, please visit any of our 74 McDonald’s of Hawaii Facebook pages, our McDonald’s of Hawaii Twitter account, or: goo.gl/M9nt9Y.

Hawaii Auction of Seized and Forfeited Property this Weekend

A public auction will be held by the State of Hawaii, Department of the Attorney General on June 24, 2017, in the Pikake room of the Neal S. Blaisdell Center.

The auction will include property that was acquired through the State’s Asset Forfeiture Program.  It will also include property from other government agencies and sources. Examples of property to be auctioned include:

  • 2006 Toyota Tacoma Crew Cab 4×4 Pickup
  • 2007 GMV Envoy SUV
  • 2003 Toyota Tundra SR5 Access Cab Pickup
  • Lifted and supercharged 2001 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab 4×4 Pickup
  • Avionics repair equipment
  • Growing lights
  • Gold and Silver Collectible jewelry and coins (including Ming)
  • Rolex watches
  • Artwork
  • Other miscellaneous property

The property to be auctioned may be inspected starting at 11:00 a.m. The auction, conducted by Rosen Auctions, will begin at noon.

For a list, pictures, and more information on the property to be sold, visit www.rosenauctions.com.

The auction is the result of ongoing efforts by state and county law enforcement agencies to fight crime by seizing and forfeiting assets used or acquired in connection with criminal activities.

Assets that were used in, or obtained from, the commission of certain criminal offenses can be seized and forfeited under the state’s asset forfeiture law.

Taking away the tools criminals use to commit crimes and the profits from those crimes are ways to deter and impede criminal conduct.

Proceeds from this auction will be used by state and county law enforcement agencies to combat crime.

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

Anyone having information about individuals who are profiting from criminal activity should call the Crime Stoppers hotline at (808) 955-8300.

Early Bird Registration for the 2017 Global Tourism Summit Now Available

Early-bird registration offering flexible discounted rates is now available for the 2017 Global Tourism Summit, being presented by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), Sept. 19-21.   Participants can register via the dedicated website, www.globaltourismsummithawaii.com, and choose from one of several options to attend the conference being held at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu.


Sustainability is the theme of this year’s summit and how it is incorporated in the future of tourism will be a featured topic of the presentations. The significance of Hawaiian culture, global marketing, technology and innovation will also be highlighted in presentations and panel discussions, with the collective focus on improving tourism in Hawaii and abroad.

George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO, said, “The core objective of the Global Tourism Summit is the collaboration and sharing of knowledge to make tourism stronger and better for the Hawaiian Islands and the industry as a whole. Tourism has stakeholders in all walks of life and all around the world and we are encouraging anyone interested in seeing this global industry succeed to participate in the summit, share their insight, and be part of this greater effort for everyone’s future benefit.”

Early-bird registration is available through July 31 for the following discounted rates:

  • Individuals: Full Conference, Sept. 19-21: $325, a savings of $70
  • Groups of 8 or More: Full Conference, Sept. 19-21: $300 per person, a savings of $65 per person (Groups can mix and match different attendees during the conference)
  • Student and Faculty Members: Full Conference, Sept. 19-21: $150
  • Individuals, Partial Conference, Sept. 19-20: $275
  • Individuals, Partial Conference, Sept. 20-21: $265

“We want to be flexible and provide interested attendees, especially those from Hawaii, with options that allow them to participate in the Global Tourism Summit in a way that best meshes with their daily work responsibilities,” said Szigeti.

Information on sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities is also available online at the dedicated website. A complete listing of sessions, programs and speakers will be added in the coming weeks.

Formerly known as the Hawaii Tourism Conference, HTA changed the name to the Global Tourism Summit to more accurately reflect Hawaii’s emergence as a leader in international travel and tourism.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

It will be visible beginning tonight, Friday, June 16 at 8:07 PM. It will be visible for approximately 3 minutes at a maximum height of 75 degrees. It will appear 31 degrees above the Northwest part of the sky and disappear 33 degrees above the South Southeast part of the sky.

You can view a livestream from the space station here: https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

Hawaii Becomes the First State to Align with the Paris Agreement!

Several Hawaii House representatives joined their colleagues from the Senate, State Administration and all four Counties today to support Gov. David Ige signing two environmental bills into law.

HB 1578, which establishes the Carbon Farming Task Force, and SB 559, which aligns Hawaii with the principles and goals adopted in the Paris climate accord, are now law.

Following President Donald J. Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement last week, Hawaii is now the first state to enact laws to officially support the agreement.

“With today’s bill signings, Hawaii is all in – joining the world’s leaders, cities across the nation, businesses and individuals in combatting climate change threats, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and leading the way towards a more sustainable future,” said House Vice Speaker Rep. Della A. Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa). “The House believes that developing stronger renewable energy and sustainable farming policies is not only the right thing to do, it will also help create jobs and develop clean industries that are critical to the future of our island home.”

Rep. Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimanalo) was one of the introducers of House Bill 1578 and said the bill establishes a process for local farmers to receive carbon credit dollars for agricultural practices that sequester carbon dioxide.

“It’s important to commit to addressing climate change, but it’s even more important that we actually take meaningful action,” said Lee, Chair of the Energy & Environmental Protection Committee. “These bills ensure local industries continue to reduce emissions and empower local farmers for sequestering carbon.”

NBA News: Clippers to Play Two Preseason Games in Hawaii Against Raptors

The Hawaiian Islands and AEG Facilities today announced that the L.A. Clippers will host the Clippers Hawai’i Classic on October 1st and 3rd in Honolulu. The two-game event, which will feature two preseason matchups between the Clippers and the Toronto Raptors, will be held at the Stan Sheriff Center on the campus of the University of Hawai’i.

The Clippers will also participate in a pre-game Fan Fest at the Hawai‘i Convention Center, where visitors to the Aloha State will be welcomed to taste and experience the best Hawai‘i has to offer, as well as meet and interact with the team. The Clippers previously announced that the team would hold its 2017 Training Camp on the campus of the University of Hawai’i.

“We are very excited to be able to host the Clippers Hawai’i Classic in Honolulu,” Clippers President of Business Operations Gillian Zucker said. “With the help of our partner, the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, we look forward to showcasing the beauty of the islands and to bringing Clipper basketball to the people of the great state of Hawai’i.”

This is the first time the Clippers have played a game in Hawai’i. Clippers games are shown throughout Hawai’i on Prime Ticket and sister network FOX Sports West.

General tickets go on sale Friday, June 9 at 12 p.m. PST at www.etickethawaii.com or by calling 1-808-956-4482.

State of Hawaii Receives $2.5 Million Payment From Volkswagen

Direct payment to State of Hawaii is in addition to restitution to individual diesel VW owners and other large penalties for emissions fraud

Attorney General Doug Chin and Office of Consumer Protection Executive Director Stephen Levins today announced that the State of Hawaii has received a $2.5 million direct payment from Volkswagen. The payment is part of a multistate settlement involving claims that the car manufacturer violated state consumer protection laws prohibiting unfair or deceptive trade practices by marketing, selling, and leasing diesel vehicles equipped with illegal and undisclosed defeat device software.

2.0 liter diesel engine settlements

On June 28, 2016, 43 states and jurisdictions announced a coordinated settlement to resolve state claims against Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Porsche AG, and Porsche Cars, North America, Inc. – collectively referred to as Volkswagen. This partial settlement covered vehicles equipped with 2.0-liter diesel engines, including the VW Jetta model years 2009-2015, VW Golf model years 2010-2015, and VW Passat model years 2012-2015, among others.

As part of the settlement, Volkswagen agreed to pay directly to the states more than $1,000 per eligible vehicle or more than $570 million nationwide. Of this amount, Hawaii received an enhanced allocation of more than $2,744 per eligible vehicle registered in Hawaii, for a total of $2.5 million.

In October 2016, Volkswagen settled a separate lawsuit for federal claims brought by the United States and the Federal Trade Commission involving the same Volkswagen and Audi vehicles equipped with 2.0-liter diesel engines. As part of this settlement, Volkswagen agreed to: (1) provide cash payments to affected individual consumers; (2) buy back or modify certain Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles; (3) pay $20 million to the states to establish a fund that state attorneys general can utilize for future training and initiatives; and (4) invest $2 billion over the next 10 years for the development of non-polluting cars, or Zero Emission Vehicles, and supporting infrastructure. In addition, Volkswagen must pay $2.7 billion into the Environmental Mitigation Trust to support environmental programs to reduce emissions of harmful oxides of nitrogen, of which Hawaii’s proportionate share was $7.5 million.

3.0 liter diesel engine settlements

On May 17, 2017, a federal district court approved additional settlement agreements resolving consumer claims and claims brought by the United States and the FTC involving certain Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche vehicles equipped with 3.0-liter diesel engines. Vehicles covered by these settlement agreements include the VW Touareg model years 2009 – 2016, Audi Q7 model years 2009 – 2015, and Porsche Cayenne Diesel model years 2013 – 2016, among others. Under the terms of these settlement agreements, Volkswagen agreed to: (1) provide cash payments to affected individual consumers; (2) buy back or modify Generation One Volkswagen 3.0-liter vehicles; (3) provide an approved emissions modification for Generation Two Volkswagen 3.0-liter vehicles; and (4) pay an additional $225 million into the Environmental Mitigation Trust.

As a result of the latest agreement between the United States and Volkswagen, Hawaii’s allocation under the Environmental Mitigation Trust increased from $7.5 million to $8.125 million, which Hawaii may request to support eligible mitigation projects in the state.

Full details of the settlements, including information for affected consumers, are available online at www.VWCourtSettlement.com and www.ftc.gov/VWSettlement.

Hawaii Civil Defense Alert and King Tide Information – Dates May 26, June 23 and July 21

An observable phenomenon this weekend on shorelines and low-lying areas in Hawaii heralds the arrival of the highest ‘king tides’ of the year, that will occur over a couple days around May 26, June 23, and July 21.  The Hawaii Sea Grant Center for Coastal and Climate Science and Resilience, and Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System together at the University of Hawaii have been tracking unusual high tide levels and are advising that the state will likely continue to experience unusually high tide levels throughout the summer.

The tides are further elevated by a few unusual compounding factors that include:

  • Ocean eddies with high centers moving through the islands;
  • Global sea-level rise due to climate change
  • Wave action, including potential summer swells or storm surge.

State and County emergency managers most recently met with UH and Sea Grant climate researchers for an informational briefing on May 19 to better understand how long these potential flooding events might last and what their potential impacts may be.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) as a major coastal landowner, is concerned with possible impacts of the higher sea levels, such as:

  • Localized coastal erosion problems;
  • High-wave run-up and overwash, particularly with a south swell coinciding with high tides this weekend; and
  • Temporary ‘nuisance flooding’ in low-lying areas and storm drains.

Impacts anticipated this weekend are likely to be greatest on shorelines exposed to south swells that have experienced flooding or erosion in the past.  Flooding impacts in June and July will be greatest if king tides coincide with a high wave event, storm, and/or rain.  The high tides may back-up storm drains in low-lying coastal areas.

To help the community prepare and respond, DLNR joins with Sea Grant to recommend that landowners in low-lying shoreline areas or near waterways consider moving to higher ground any electronics, vehicles or other valuable from basements or yards.

Problems with localized flooding and increased currents around harbors could occur this weekend, particularly on south and west shores. The Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation encourages boaters to monitor their vessels to ensure mooring lines don’t get too tight, and to beware of overwash around boat ramps at high tide. Canoe clubs should secure or move canoes on the beach.  Boating officials are not anticipating any impacts to state boating facilities as the tides are not expected overtop piers.

Marine biologist Skippy Hau, with the Maui Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), says, “This weekend it’s too early in the season for turtle nesting to be impacted. The nesting season will begin in June and at that time biologists and volunteers will be monitoring the beaches for any signs of turtle nesting. Timing is critical — high tides could threaten nestlings as they emerge from the nest.”

Dr. Kim Peyton, estuaries and coastal habitat research scientist in DAR, notes that “King tides bring unusually high water levels, resulting in local flooding that can leave schools of juvenile fishes to die on roads, parking lots and other hard structures. When waves smash up against these hard structures, the deafening noise underwater can degrade habitat quality for juvenile fish in these altered estuaries.

She adds, “Under typical conditions, high tides hold back stream flow to the coast, then at low tides this wall of ocean water recedes and streams flood out into the ocean.  King tides create a bigger wall of ocean water, meaning these tides can hold back streams to a greater degree and potentially cause streams to flood their banks even without rain in the mountains. Local current patterns in streams and bays may change temporally as the sharp shoulders of the King tides raise and lower water levels.”

Shoreline fishponds could possibly experience damage from high tides combined with unusual ocean swells.

DLNR is the state coordinating agency for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in Hawaii. It’s recommended that persons with properties in low-lying that may be affected by the King Tides take mitigative actions to protect their properties (i.e. use of sandbags to protect the structure or elevating personal property). If not already covered by flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent about protecting your home or business against flooding. Keep in mind, there is a 30 day wait period for a policy to take effect so don’t delay.

The Hawaii Sea Grant Center for Coastal and Climate Science and Resilience is asking island residents to help document high water levels and related impacts through the Hawaii and Pacific Islands King Tides “Citizen Science” project by submitting photos online through the program’s smartphone app or website. For information and tide prediction charts, go to: http://ccsr.seagrant.soest.hawaii.edu/king-tides

Hawaii Civil Defense Alert for May 26, 2017:

This is an extreme high tides and high surf message for Friday, May 26th.

The National Weather Service reports unusually high tides, also known as “king tides,” may cause dangerous flooding conditions along all shores of Hawaii Island from today through the Memorial Day weekend before gradually subsiding next week.

This extreme high tide, or king tide, will be in combination with dangerous high surf caused by large southerly swells. Be aware, due to the king tides and high surf, coastal areas, beaches, low-lying roads, boat ramps and harbors may be dangerously impacted especially during the high tide periods of the afternoon and late evening hours.

These expected high surf and king tide conditions will cause higher beach run-up, flooding and erosion.

Because of these dangerous conditions, the following precautions should be taken: oceanfront residents, beachgoers and boat owners are advised to be on the alert for possible high and dangerous surf, strong currents, and beach flooding. As a precaution, you should consider canceling or suspending coastal water activities until potential dangerous hazards are over. As always, precautionary actions should be taken before nightfall.

While there are no closures of roads or beaches at this time, please be aware that these may occur without notice.

You will be informed of any changes in conditions that may affect your safety.
Thank you for listening. Have a safe day. This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Contingency Plans on North Korea

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Talking Points – North Korea Ballistic Missile Hazard 

What is the Current Situation?

  • At this point we know of no imminent threat of a nuclear ballistic missile attack and there are doubts regarding North Korea’s capability to conduct such an attack against Hawaii. Our citizens and visitors should not be alarmed – and as stated in some earlier interviews “the sky is not falling.” Hawaii is operating normally and open to visitors.

What is Hawaii doing in response to the growing NK nuclear missile threat?

  • Hawaii is continuing its monitoring of the situation in NK, in coordination with United States Pacific Command and the county emergency management agencies.
  • Maintaining and exercising notification protocols with USPACOM via secure communications. Integrated Public Alert and Warning Systems (IPAWS) notification tools.
  • We are updating our emergency plans with a primary focus on what actions to take upon notification of an attack.
  • Know: Where to go, what to do, when to do it, what to bring. For nuclear events: Get inside, stay inside, and stay tuned.  Due to very short warning time – will need to shelter in place:  know that place and prepare that place ahead of time.
  • We are also re-assessing the old fall-out shelter lists and whether such lists are effective.
  • Our partners: City and County of Honolulu, other counties, Dept. of Health, State Department of Defense, other state agencies, USPACOM, FEMA, DHS, and others.

What would be your main message to the people of Hawaii?

  • Maintain your situational awareness of what is going on regarding the events in N. K.
  • Know: Where to go, what to do, when to do it, and what to bring. This is for all disaster events (hurricanes, tsunamis, etc.). For nuclear events add: Get inside, stay inside, and stay tuned. Plan and know this ahead of time.
  • Pre-identify shelters – concrete, below ground, improvised, ahead of time.  During all times of the day/night.  Shelter in place.  Again Know your place and prepare your place ahead of time.
  • Have a personal/family plan to accomplish the above.
  • Have a personal/family plan to accomplish the above. Discuss actions with family and friends ahead of time. Each member should know what the other will do for emergency events given each circumstance. No cell phone contact – actions are known and automatic.   Main problem is that missile arrival time, from launch to impact is very short.

Notes:

Major Considerations:

  • Missile arrival time is less than 20 minutes. First indication may be impact – bright flash.
  • No time to evacuate or seek appropriate shelter. Shelter in place – the primary option. Know where that “place” is and prepare it.  Again – know where to go, what to do, when to do it, and what to bring.
  • Shelter goal – put as many walls and as much concrete, brick, and soil between you and the outside.
  • Anticipated impact area – Honolulu (Barbers Point, Pearl Harbor, Honolulu Harbor area).
  • Radiation hazard due to nuclear fall-out. Get inside, stay inside, stay tuned.
  • An important point – the City and County of Honolulu is the major player in this event. HI-EMA’s role at the state level is to support the counties’ efforts.
  • No cell-phone contact.
  • Fall-out shelters are not bomb/blast shelters.
  • Significant number of casualties/victims.
  • Electromagnetic pulse effect on communications and vital systems.

The United States Pacific Command is based in Pearl Harbor and Hawaii has a very high concentration of U.S. military commands making it both a strategic & symbolic target.

While the US military may have contingency plans for such an event from a military perspective, civilian agencies must also be prepared.

These civilian plans have not been updated since 1985 and the capabilities of shelters have declined steadily into non-existence since the end of the Cold War.

The role of the House Committee on Public Safety includes overseeing programs relating to civilian emergency and disaster response.

As Vice-Chair of that committee, Rep. LoPresti proposed legislation that would update disaster preparedness plans and shelters which could include natural or manmade disasters originating close to home, or from foreign lands.

If some experts are correct that North Korea does now have or soon will have the capability to reach the Hawaiian Islands with an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear (chemical or biological) warhead, it stands to reason that the government of North Korea would pose an imminent threat to the people of Hawaii.

Despite whom you talk to, or whom you believe, as far as the nuclear delivery capabilities of North Korea, hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst is the burden of our government.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is unpredictable and wields absolute power in the nuclear capable country.  Mix that with an unpredictable foreign policy of a new US President and we have reasons to worry.

It has been theorized that an intercontinental ballistic missile could travel from North Korea to Hawaii in 20 minutes.

The Hawaiian Islands have no land-based access to outside assistance.  We cannot evacuate or drive supplies from the next town over so we have reason to be extra vigilant.

In passing this legislation, it would be resolved that:

  1. The Hawaii Department of Defense updates its disaster preparedness plans
  2. Identify locations for usable fallout shelters, upgrade outdated fallout shelters, and update shelter signage, markings, provisions, and public awareness
  3. Develop state lands that would accommodate mass storage infrastructure for shipping containers
  4. Identify ports outside of the Island of Oahu that may be used in the case Oahu ports are disabled in the event of a disaster
  5. And request the Hawaii Department of Defense report its findings and recommendations for such matters before the convening of the next legislative session

For all these reasons, Rep. LoPresti proposed this legislation, hopes that the Hawaii State Legislature passes it, and hopes the State Government will act towards these ends whether the resolution passes or not.

Lastly, Rep. LoPresti hopes that the Trump Administration and Congress would provide Hawaii with funds to accomplish these important goals, as they once did during the Cold War.

Hawaii Governor Signs Gold Star Proclamation

Hawaii Governor David Y. Ige signed a Gold Star proclamation in the governor’s ceremonial room at the state capitol on May 17. In attendance was Rear Admiral John Fuller, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, Gold star family members from all military services as well as representatives of the Navy Region Southwest Gold Star program and Navy League Honolulu Council. The gold star family program provides long-term support to surviving families of service members who die while on active duty.

Photo by Ensign Britney Duesler

According to the Region Gold Star Coordinator, Hawaii may be the first state to hold such an event this year. Gold Star families from all branches of service will be recognized.

Through the program, families may be afforded long-term assistance through coordinators offering to assist on an array of benefits and entitlements.

In Hawaii the Army and Navy have the only gold star programs in the state. Families from any service can register with either one of the gold star programs.

The gold star first made an appearance during World War I after being placed over a service flag’s blue star when a service member was killed in combat. The gold star signified the family’s pride in the loved one’s sacrifice rather than the mourning of their personal loss.

Today surviving family members are presented with a lapel pin as a sign of remembrance. The pin may feature a gold star on a purple background or a gold star surrounded by laurel leaves.

A gold star on a purple background recognizes combat related losses dating back to World War I, including service members who lose their lives while deployed in support of military operations against the enemy or during an international terrorist attack.

A gold star surrounded by laurel leaves and sprigs of oak that represent the branches of the Armed Forces. It is designated for eligible survivors of service members who lose their lives while serving honorably under circumstances not defined above.  This includes service members who lose their lives while assigned to a Reserve or National Guard unit in a drill status.

EBT Cards to Experience Downtime Monday, May 15

Individuals and families using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards may experience downtime from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Monday, May 15, 2017. Consumers are asked to avoid making transactions during these morning hours. Consumers may resume regular use of their cards after 6 a.m. on Monday.

From May 12, 2017 through May 15, 2017, the Hawai‘i Department of Human Services (DHS) will be converting its Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system from the current vendor, JPMorgan Electronic Financial Services, to a new EBT vendor, Fidelity Information Services Government Solutions.

EBT cardholders experiencing issues beyond 6 a.m. on May 15, 2017 may call the same helpline as usual at 1-888-328-4292. Limited helpline service will be available to EBT cardholders during the downtime period.

Additional Open Application Period Begins for Hawaii Preschool Open Doors Program

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has opened an additional application period for its Preschool Open Doors (POD) program and encourages families to apply between May 1 and May 31, 2017.  Applications received during this period will be considered for preschool participation during July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.

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This program, which currently serves more than 1,700 children statewide, provides child care subsidies to eligible low- and moderate-income families to pay preschool tuition. POD aims to provide children whose families might otherwise not be able to afford preschool the opportunity to gain essential skills to be successful in school and in life.

To qualify for the program, children must be eligible to enter kindergarten in the 2018-2019 school year (born between August 1, 2012 and July 31, 2013). Families are reminded that a child must be five years old on or before July 31 to enter kindergarten. Families may choose any one of the 433 State-licensed preschools. Underserved or at-risk children receive priority consideration for the POD program, and funds are limited.

Interested families may request an application beginning Monday, May 1, 2017 from the Department’s POD contractor, PATCH, by visiting or calling 791-2130 or toll free 1-800-746-5620. PATCH can also help families locate a preschool convenient for them.

Applications must be received by Wednesday, May 31, 2017 to be considered during the July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018 program period. Applications should be dropped off, mailed, faxed, or emailed to the following:

PATCH – POD, 560 N. Nimitz Hwy, Suite 218, Honolulu, HI 96817, Fax: (808) 694-3066, PODAdmin@patch-hi.org

Eligibility and priorities for POD program selection are detailed online in HAR §17-799, which is available online at humanservices.hawaii.gov/admin-rules-2/admin-rules-for-programs.  For more information about other DHS programs and services, visit humanservices.hawaii.gov.

Hawaii Department of Health Publishes First LGBT Health Data Report

Today the Department of Health released the first-ever Hawaii Sexual and Gender Minority Health Report at the Building Competency in Serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Youth Conference. The report reveals that, compared to heterosexual youth and adults, lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth experience many early risk factors that contribute to poorer health outcomes in adulthood.

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“We are pleased to share our current research on the health of Hawaii’s sexual and gender minority people,” said Dr. Virginia Pressler, Director of Health. “The new findings will help us tailor programs to better address the health challenges of LGBT people in our State.” Over ten percent of public high school youth identify as LGB or questioning, and three percent of adults aged 18 years and older identify as LGB. An additional 5,600 adults in Hawaii identify as transgender or gender non-conforming.

Sexual and gender minority people experience discrimination and stigma, and are often victims of bullying, family rejection, and lack of acceptance. Consequently, LGB and questioning youth experience greater mental health challenges than heterosexual youth. Half of LGB youth report feeling sad or hopeless, and 60 percent report purposely hurting themselves through behaviors such as cutting or burning themselves. Each year, nearly one in three LGB youth attempt suicide.

LGB youth are also more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors that increase their risk for chronic disease and poor health outcomes later in life. One-quarter of LGB youth report that they currently smoke cigarettes, and nearly half drink alcohol. One in ten LBG youth also say they have injected illicit drugs at least once in their lifetime.

Consistent with the findings on youth, the report shows that LGB adults live with poorer health outcomes than heterosexual adults. Forty percent of LGB adults report having multiple chronic conditions, and they are twice as likely as heterosexual adults to suffer depression.

Women identifying as lesbian or bisexual also experience poorer health outcomes compared to heterosexual women. One-quarter of lesbian or bisexual women have asthma, and they are three times more likely to have a stroke. Men identifying as gay or bisexual are seven times more likely to experience abuse by a partner, and three times more likely to be a victim of rape or attempted rape.

“The report demonstrates that there is much work to be done to understand and address the unique challenges of sexual and gender minority people,” said Lola Irvin, Administrator of the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division. “By improving the health of at-risk and underserved populations, we will make Hawaii a healthier, happier place for all our citizens.”

To download a copy of the report, please visit https://health.hawaii.gov/surveillance/files/2017/04/HawaiiSexualandGenderMinorityHealthReport.pdf.

Hawaii Department of Education Rolls Out SchoolCafé – Pay for School Meals Online Now

Hawaii Department of Education is rolling out a new program called SchoolCafé that will make it easier for parents to monitor and pay for their child’s school meals online and through a mobile application. The new system provides a number of features including online payments, creating auto-payments, checking account balances and setting up low balance alerts.

The new system provides a number of features for parents including online payments, creating auto-payments, checking account balances, setting up low balance alerts and is accessible online or through a mobile application. Photo Credit: Cybersoft PrimeroEdge

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) is rolling out a new program called SchoolCafé that will make it easier for parents to monitor and pay for their child’s school meals online and through a mobile application. The program, which is run using PrimeroEdge school nutrition food service software, will also help cafeterias track their inventory, make purchases and reduce costs.

“The Department has spent the last two years working on bringing our food service management system into the 21st century,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “This new software will allow us to streamline the experience and process for parents as well as our cafeteria staff who will be able to anticipate their inventory needs with more precision, which will help reduce costs in the long run.”

A pilot program for SchoolCafé started on Jan. 9, 2017 with schools in the Castle, Kahuku, Kailua, Kalaheo, Kaiser and Kalani complexes. The rest of the schools started transitioning in February, and all 256 campuses will be online and using the software by April 3.

The new system provides a number of features for parents including online payments, creating auto-payments, checking account balances, setting up low balance alerts and is accessible online or through a mobile application for iPhones, Android and Windows phones. A 5 percent convenience fee will be charged for payments made online and through the mobile application. Parents still have the option of paying with cash or check at their child’s school at no charge and can use SchoolCafé to check their balance.

Schools will be able to keep track of production records and can make purchases through a centralized ordering portal. Inventory will be tracked electronically, from previous purchases to pending orders. This is a change from the previous manual 5×7 index card system that schools were using for their food service programs.

“The cost savings from implementing the new program based on annual software expenses alone will be around $100,000,” shared Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson. “This is one less expense that schools will have to worry about since the Department will cover the cost of the software annually for all 256 public schools.”

The PrimeroEdge software cost HIDOE $870,000 and includes 18-months of service, installation and staff training. The annual cost after the 18-months will be $350,000, which will be paid for by the Department.

Photo Credit: Department of Education

A letter from HIDOE’s School Food Services Branch will be distributed next week notifying parents about this new system and where they can get more information.

Pahoa Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event Tomorrow

Bring your own automotive fluids, chemicals and poisons and other hazardous household wastes to the Pāhoa Recycling & Transfer Station collection area on March 5th, 2017. Business, farm, non-profit or government agency waste are NOT allowed. Electronic waste (e-waste) is also NOT allowed.

There will not be a concurrent collection at this event for reusable latex paints. Take your reusable latex paints to the Kea‘au Recycling & Reuse Center at the Kea‘au Recycling & Transfer Station year-round.

Customers should pack their items in spill-proof containers and be careful when transporting them to the event. When at the event please remain in your vehicle in line until authorized personnel come to unload your vehicle. For your safety and the safety of those around you please do not walk your hazardous materials over to the authorized personnel in the restricted area, this precaution is to prevent spillage, accidents and ensure fairness to those already waiting in line. Mahalo for your kōkua.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication (including language interpreting) or a modification of policies or procedures to participate in this event should contact Chris at 961-8554 as soon as possible, but no later February 17, 2017.

For full details on what materials are and are not accepted please visit our Household Hazardous Waste page.

EPA Conducting Pesticide Poisoning Training in Hawaii

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced upcoming trainings for health care workers on how to recognize and treat pesticide poisonings. The classes will be conducted by the Migrant Clinicians Network, with co-sponsors Hawaii Department of Health, the Hawaii Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and Hawaii Emergency Physicians Associated, with funding from the EPA.

“Quick and accurate identification of pesticide poisoning is important to provide immediate patient care,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “These workshops will provide health care workers with the tools they need in such critical situations.”

The trainings are accredited courses that will focus on key decision points in the diagnosis of pesticide exposures and will highlight the usefulness of the EPA publication, “Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisoning, 6th edition”. Copies will be provided to all participants. Through interactive case studies, this training will illustrate effective recognition and treatment of patients who may have been exposed to pesticides.

“The Department of Health is grateful for the partnerships that came together to bring this specialized medical training to the healthcare communities on Kauai and Oahu,” said Dr. Virginia Pressler, Director of the Hawaii Department of Health. “We urge health care professionals to take advantage of this important learning opportunity, and expect to see more offered in this area.”

The classes will be held:

Kauai – March 6, at 9:30 am and 1 pm at the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital, 4643 Waimea Canyon Drive, Waimea, HI, Conference Room AB. For more information and registration on the Kauai classes please contact Julie Sommers, (808) 338-9474 – jsommers@hhsc.org or Cheryl Tennberg, ctennberg@hhsc.org

Oahu – March 7, at 9:30 am at the AFFES Building, 919 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI, 5th floor Conference Room. For more information and registration on the Oahu class please contact Amy K. Liebman, (512) 579-4535, aliebman@migrantclinician.org or Fenix Grange, (808) 586-4248, fenix.grange@doh.hawaii.gov

Martin Luther King Report: Hawaii Is 2017’s Most Racially Integrated State

With Martin Luther King, Jr. Day around the corner and 46 percent of U.S. voters expecting Donald Trump’s presidential triumph to result in worse race relations, the personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2017’s States with the Most Racial Progress.

Click to see full list

To measure America’s progress in harmonizing racial groups, WalletHub’s analysts measured the gaps between blacks and whites in 16 key indicators of equality and integration for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The data set ranges from “median annual income ” to “standardized test scores” to “voter turnout.”

This report examines the differences between only blacks and whites in light of the high-profile police-brutality incidents that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement and the holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who played a prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement to end segregation and discrimination against blacks.

Racial Integration* in Hawaii (1=Most Integrated, 25=Avg.)

  • 1st – Median Annual Income Gap
  • 2nd – Labor-Force Participation Rate Gap
  • 7th – Unemployment Rate Gap
  • 23rd – Homeownership Rate Gap
  • 1st – Poverty Rate Gap
  • 1st – Business Ownership Rate Gap
  • 1st – Gap in % of Residents with at Least a High School Diploma
  • 1st – Standardized-Test Scores Gap

*All of the above comparisons refer to the gaps between whites and blacks, according to the most recent available data.

For the full report, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-most-and-least-racial-progress/18428/

Hawaii Women’s March: January 21, Day After Inauguration

The day after the inauguration of the new President of the United States, Hawaii, other states and at least seven countries will hold marches in solidarity with the Women’s March at the Capitol in Washington D.C. These non-partisan events are focused on the protection of women’s rights, safety, health and families. In Hawaii, there will be five marches: on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and two on Hawaii Island (Hilo and Kona). Several thousand are expected at the Oahu March.

The marches on the Hawaiian Islands will be the closing events for those across the United States. Families, friends and allies interested in supporting human rights and social justice will take part.

WHO: All Hawaii residents and visitors are invited to participate
WHEN: January 21, 2017, 9:30 a.m. March start 10 a.m.
WHERE: Hawaii State Capitol (Ewa side), 415 S. Beretania Street, Honolulu. Rally to follow. Brown bag lunch. Download march route map.

“We are sending a message to the new administration on its first day in office,” said Amy Monk, Oahu Womens March co-chair. “The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized and threatened many of us. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear. We will move forward in solidarity with all individuals, our partners, and our allies who are committed to empowering women and strengthening communities.”

Participating organizations: AF3IRM, Ceeds of Peace, Friends of Hawaii Commission on the Status of Women, Hawaii Friends of Civil Rights, Hawaii State AFL-CIO, LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands, Pretty Peacock Productions, Pride@Work-Hawaii, and The AiKea Movement of Unite Here! Local 5.

Co-chairs of Oahu Women’s March: Della Au Belatti, Khara Jabola, Amy M onk, Essence Malaya Jane Kaiulani Sylvester, Morgen Trube, and Elizabeth “Annie” Valentin. Additional co-chairs to be announced.

Route for the march: Start on the Ewa grounds of the State Capitol along Richards Street, left onto South King Street, left up Alapai Street, left onto South Beretania Street, and ending in the Capitol Rotunda.

Donations for O‘ahu’s Women’s March can be made: https://womensmarchoahu.wordpress.com/support/

If your group or organization would like to participate in the march as a team, please contact co-chair Amy Monk at amonk20@yahoo.com.

If your group or organization would like to have a table or participate in the rally program, please contact co-chair Della Au Belatti at Honoluluwomensmarch@gmail.com.

For more information about how to support or participate in the Women’s Marches in Hawaii, please email Honoluluwomensmarch@gmail.com.

The Women’s March movement began when Teresa Shook of Maui took to Facebook the night after the election and began inviting friends to join her in a march on Washington. She awoke the next day to more than 40,000 people expressing interest in the event.