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Legacy Land Conservation Program Seeks Applications for Grants From the Hawaii Land Conservation Fund

Grants from the State of Hawai‘i Land Conservation Fund support efforts by state agencies, counties, and nonprofit land conservation organizations to acquire land and protect resources for public benefit. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), through its Legacy Land Conservation Program, seeks applications from these partners for grants to preserve — forever — land that has natural, environmental, recreational, scenic, cultural, agricultural production, or historic value, including park and trail systems that provide access to such land.DLNR’s Legacy Land Conservation Program works with partners to spend state conveyance tax revenue for important environmental and social purposes, often leveraging the state funds to meet the matching requirements of federal and private co-sponsors. Grant applications for land acquisition, and for debt service payment on previous state-financed acquisitions, are vetted in a thorough process of public review and government approval that involves three consulting state agencies; the all-volunteer Legacy Land Conservation Commission; the President of the State Senate and the Speaker of the State House of Representatives; the State Board of Land and Natural Resources; the State Department of Budget and Finance; and the Governor.

DLNR Chairperson Suzanne Case explained that the Legacy Land Conservation Program has completed transactions to conserve 30 properties over the last 11 years, with 15 more transactions nearing completion. “Through this program, DLNR has helped to secure over 11,000 acres against ongoing degradation and future land use conversion, and to save a wealth of key resources from neglect, damage, and destruction. These achievements would not be possible without the dedication of conservation-minded landowners, the commitment and persistence of community and government organizations, the generosity of private donors, and the policy decisions of our elected officials,” Case said.

Applications are due September 25, 2017, for approximately $2 million that is available for the 2017-2018 grant cycle. Application materials are available at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/ecosystems/llcp/apply.

DLNR encourages state agencies, counties, and nonprofit land conservation organizations that are interested in securing a grant from the Land Conservation Fund to contact the Legacy Land Conservation Program, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, at (808) 586-0921, or by email at legacyland@hawaii.gov.

For more information about the Legacy Land Conservation Program, go to http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/ecosystems/llcp/.

 

Hawaii Receives Approximately $477,000 in Settlement with Drug Manufacturer

Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that Hawaii joined 29 states and the federal government last week in settling claims against Celgene Corporation (Celgene), a pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Celgene had permission from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market its drug Thalamid for skin conditions associated with leprosy and its drug Revlimid for transfusion induced anemia. This settlement resolves allegations that Celgene illegally marketed both drugs for cancer treatments that were unrelated to the skin conditions and anemia. Celgene’s promotions encouraged what the FDA considers “off label” uses without first securing FDA approval.

As a result of the settlement with Celgene, Hawaii will receive approximately $477,000. This money will be split between Hawaii’s MedQuest program and the Hawaii Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Attorney General Chin said of the settlement, “Money from the settlement will help with further investigations and prosecutions of medical fraud in this state.”

Celgene’s alleged illegal marketing included monetary kickbacks to doctors, forged clinical studies and medical literature, and manipulated medical diagnostic codes in order to increase sales of Thalamid and Revlimid.

A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units team participated in the settlement negotiations with Celgene on behalf of the states. It included representatives from the offices of the attorneys general for the states of California, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Hawaii State Moves Forest Carbon Project Forward

4,700 Acres Made Available for Reforestation to Generate Carbon Credits

A first-of-its-kind initiative in Hawai‘i to use carbon offset credits for reforestation and recovery of Hawai‘i Island pasture land is moving forward with the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP).  The program involves planting of native tree species such as koa and mamane, restoration of the watershed on the north slopes of Mauna Kea, and habitat restoration for the endangered native bird, the palila. The initiative will generate revenues for all the activities through the sale of carbon offset credits.

One “carbon offset credit” certifies the storage of one metric ton of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in plants and other organic material. Carbon offset credits are used to offset carbon emissions, often referred to as greenhouse gas emissions, from transportation, commercial activities, and other carbon emitting activities. Offsetting carbon emissions is recognized as an important way to reduce the impact of climate change. The market for voluntary carbon offset credits has been growing worldwide for many years spurred by individuals and corporations that wish to reduce their carbon footprint. By making the Pu’u Mali Restoration Area available for a forest carbon project, DLNR is creating opportunities to generate carbon credits locally.

Philipp LaHaela Walter, State Resource and Survey Forester in the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) explained, “Our goal is to give companies and individuals a transparent and measurable way to contribute to the protection of Hawai’i’s watersheds and forests for future generations. We are noticing that the local business community is increasingly making the conservation of our natural resources such as beautiful, healthy reefs, stunning mountain forests, and clean freshwater a part of their kuleana. We are excited to provide opportunities to contribute and to help continue the State’s national leadership in building sustainable communities through this innovative approach.” Proposals in response to the RFP will be due on August 31, 2017. A site visit at the Pu’u Mali Restoration Area was held for entities interested in submitting a proposal on August 1.

If you drive a car, fly in a plane, use air-conditioning to cool your home, or engage in any activity that creates greenhouse gas emissions, you’ll soon have a way to offset your emissions locally.  The Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) approved this first State carbon offset project in early July.

Forest Carbon Project Video News Release, 8-7-17 from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

UPDATED FAQ’s on National Park Specialty License Plates – Available Statewide for Limited Time Only

Updated FAQs: National Park Specialty State License Plates Available at DMV locations throughout Hawai‘i.

License plate frame not included!

Q: Are there any plates left?
A: Yes! There are plenty of plates statewide. (Editors Note – Plate availability is very limited and note that many offices have run out on their first batch received already).

Q: How much do the plates cost?
A: $35.50, and $18 goes to support the corresponding park. There is an annual renewal fee of $25, and $18 is again donated to the corresponding park.

Q: Can I get personalized license plates in the specialty design?
A: The plates are pre-numbered, so customizing isn’t an option.

Q: I have two vehicles. Can I get one of each?
A: Yes! Visit your local DMV, and go to www.hawaiiparkplates.com for the location nearest you.

Q: Can I get the specialty plate for my electric vehicle?
A: You can exchange your EV plates for the specialty plates, however, it does not come with the EV designation so you’d have to forego the benefits of having an EV plate.

Q: Can I get the specialty plate for my motorcycle?
A: There is not a motorcycle option at this time.

Q: Can I get a military/veteran plate transferred to a national park plate?
A: You can exchange your military/veteran plates for the specialty plates, however, you can’t have both.

Q: Are the plates tax deductible?
A: Individuals would have to check with their tax accountants, but specialty plates haven’t been tax deductible in the past.

Q: Can I pay with a credit card?
A: No. The DMV accepts cash or check only (at least that’s the case in Hilo)

We hope to see you on the road and in the park with your gorgeous new license plates soon! Post a photo to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #FindYourVolcano to show your park pride!

Mahalo for supporting your local parks!

Hawaii Governor Announces Stepped Up Efforts to Prevent Rat Lungworm Disease and Expanded Role of Joint Task Force

Gov. David Y. Ige, together with the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) and the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) announced today the state’s plans to place a stronger emphasis on the prevention of rat lungworm disease.

This year, the state confirmed a total of 15 cases of the serious parasitic infection, which is the highest number of cases reported in the state over the last decade.

“We are bringing together local experts from relevant fields to increase public awareness, improve our response activities, and explore ways to control and treat the disease,” said Gov. Ige. “They will work together with the Joint Task Force we established last year to step up prevention efforts beyond Hawai‘i Island, where the first cases were reported.”Dr. Kenton Kramer, Associate Professor of the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology with the University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine (UH-JABSOM), who is serving as Joint Task Force chair said, “The Joint Task Force to combat rat lungworm disease will reconvene in August. Experts from the medical, scientific, environmental, and public health communities will collaborate to develop guidelines for schools, farms, food establishments, physicians and other groups on best practices to prevent, control, and treat rat lungworm disease.”

The Joint Task Force, established in May 2016, consists of members from UH-JABSOM, Pacific Biosciences Research Center; The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at UH Hilo; HDOA’s Plant Industry and Quality Assurance Divisions; USDA Agriculture Research Service; Kaiser Permanente Hawaii; Hilo Medical Center; Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children; Hawaii County; and the DOH’s State Laboratories Division, District Health Offices of Hawaii Island, Maui, and Kaua‘i, Vector Control Branch, Safe Drinking Water Branch, Disease Outbreak Control Division, and Sanitation Branch.

Because of rising concerns over the recent increase in confirmed cases this year, the 2017 Hawai‘i State Legislature appropriated $1 million ($500,000 over two years) to the DOH to increase public education and improve control and prevention of rat lungworm disease. The funding will make possible a statewide media campaign in partnership with the Hawai‘i Association of Broadcasters to build public awareness of ways to prevent the spread of the parasitic disease.

Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler said, “We appreciate the Legislature’s support in allowing the state to accelerate our efforts on this important initiative. The funds will provide much needed resources for our public health communications efforts as well as strengthen our disease investigation and vector control measures for rat lungworm disease.”

In addition to a statewide public awareness campaign, the DOH will work in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of Hawai‘i, HDOA, and other agencies to conduct a targeted rat, slug and snail study to identify disease routes and provide data on disease risks from these vectors. A statewide study of this kind has never been conducted in Hawaii before because of limited resources. Findings from the study will guide vector control activities for rat lungworm prevention.

Funding from the Legislature will also support two temporary full-time staff positions to coordinate prevention efforts between county, state, federal, and private sector partners.

Currently, the DOH’s food safety inspectors and vector control staff are collaborating with HDOA to investigate any reports of produce shipments from any farmer or vendor (local or mainland) with an infestation of slugs or snails. If the shipment is traced to a local farm, inspectors work with the farmer to ensure proper pest reduction measures are implemented.

Rat lungworm disease is caused by a parasitic roundworm called Angiostrongylus cantonensis. The parasite can be passed from the feces of infected rodents to snails, slugs and certain other animals, which become intermediate hosts for the parasite. People can become infected when they consume infected raw or undercooked intermediate hosts (slugs, snails, freshwater prawns, frogs, crayfish, and crabs).

Although the rat lungworm parasite has been found in slugs and snails throughout the state, Hawai‘i Island has experienced the majority of the confirmed cases. Some infected people don’t show any symptoms or have mild symptoms. For others, the symptoms can be much more severe and debilitating, and can include headaches, stiffness of the neck, tingling or pain on the skin or in extremities, low-grade fever, nausea, and vomiting.

Sometimes, a temporary paralysis of the face may occur, as well as light sensitivity. This infection can also cause a rare and serious type of meningitis (eosinophilic meningitis).

To prevent the spread of rat lungworm infection, the public is urged to take these important steps:

  • Always practice safe eating habits by inspecting, thoroughly washing, and properly storing raw produce, especially leafy greens, regardless of where it came from, and/or cooking it properly to kill any parasites. Washing raw vegetables and fruits thoroughly under running water before eating not only prevents rat lungworm, but also rinses off other contaminants.
  • Eliminate snails, slugs and rats — all of which are potential vectors for the disease  — both around residential home gardens and agricultural operations of all scales.
  • Prevent the consumption of snails and slugs by covering all containers, from water catchment tanks to drink and food dishes. Supervise young children while playing outdoors to prevent them from putting a slug or snail in their mouths.

Watch todays video here: https://www.facebook.com/GovernorDavidIge/videos/856480491194011/

For more information on preventing rat lungworm disease, go to the DOH website at www.health.hawaii.gov

Project Vision Celebrates 10 Years with Inaugural Eye Ball

September 2017 marks 10 years of Project Vision Hawaii (PVH) providing free vision and health screenings to underserved and low-income communities across the State of Hawaii.To celebrate, this visionary non-profit is hosting its inaugural Eye Ball fundraiser on Friday, September 22 at Waialae Country Club. The goal is to raise $150,000. The vintage-Hawaii themed gala will feature traditional Hawaiian food, entertainment and an “eyegasmic” silent auction.

For every dollar raised, 91 cents will go toward vision and health care programs and services for people in need. Money raised will help allow Project Vision to work towards its goal to provide 15,000 children with eyeglasses, thousands of seniors with vision screening and public health education and thousands of homeless people with much-needed health and education services.

“We are proud and grateful to be celebrating a decade of vision and public health services throughout the state of Hawaii,” said Annie Valentin, PVH executive director. “Project Vision Hawaii is all about the strength of our partnerships, sponsors, volunteers, board and staff. Eye Ball is our opportunity to share our accomplishments, and most importantly a time to thank everyone helping some of Hawaii’s neediest communities.”

There are a limited sponsorship opportunities available. For more information, contact call (808) 282-2265 or email eyeball@projectvisionhawaii.org

Project Vision operates four mobile screening units across the islands – one to serve Oahu, Molokai and Lanai, and one each on Hawaii Island, Maui and Kauai – in an effort to increase access to health care as well as identify and address eye diseases early on. Project Vision partners with other nonprofits including Vision To Learn, local ophthalmologists and civic groups such as Lions Clubs to conduct screenings.

Big Island’s Do-It-Yourself Used Motor Oil Collection Sites

Used motor oil contains toxic substances that can contaminate our land, ground water and ocean. The County of Hawai‘i operates a program for the do-it-yourself person who changes their own non-business vehicle’s motor oil.

Do-it-yourself used motor oil collection sites at the following seven locations are open and accepting used motor oil:

  • Lex Brodie’s Tire & Service Center in Hilo
  • Pa‘auilo Village Service
  • Kealakehe High School Auto Shop
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts in Kona
  • CarTow Kohala in Hāwī
  • RPM Kawaihae
  • South Point U-Cart in Ocean View

Unfortunately, at this time, empty motor oil containers are not recyclable at a global level. Research is being conducted to study how to remove oil from plastic, but is still in development. To avoid contamination of other recyclable plastic, empty motor oil containers need to be placed in regular disposal.

For more information on hours of operation, acceptability conditions, and contact information, please visit our Used Motor Oil page at www.hawaiizerowaste.org/recycle/motor-oil. 

Hawaii Department of Health Certifies Lab to Begin Testing Medical Cannabis

Steep Hill Hawaii, a private independent laboratory on Oahu, can now begin testing medical cannabis from Hawaii’s licensed medical cannabis dispensaries and registered patients and caregivers. The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) granted Steep Hill a provisional certification today after the laboratory successfully passed its final onsite inspection and met requirements that demonstrate it has the capacity and proficiency to test cannabis and manufactured cannabis in compliance with state law.

Click to visit

“We realize that registered patients and caregivers and some of the licensed dispensaries have been waiting for a laboratory to become operational to test medical cannabis prior to consumption and sale. This is a major step forward as it allows the dispensaries to now begin testing their products to sell to qualified patients,” said Keith Ridley, Chief of DOH’s Office of Health Care Assurance, who oversees the medical cannabis dispensary program.

A laboratory is restricted from handling, testing, or analyzing cannabis or manufactured cannabis products until it is certified by the state. Under the interim administrative rules governing the medical cannabis dispensary program, certification allows a laboratory to conduct specific tests required to ensure the safety of products sold to registered patients in Hawaii.

“Certification follows a rigorous scientific process that requires meticulous attention to detail and constant refining to ensure product and patient safety,” said Chris Whelen, chief of DOH’s State Laboratories Division. “Our State Laboratories Division team is currently working closely with two other private independent labs to help them obtain certification. They are continuing to submit or resubmit their validation studies for certification.”

To receive certification, a laboratory must submit validation studies to demonstrate it is capable of conducting testing with consistent and accurate results for the following areas: cannabinoid profile (including THC), compound that are considered “active ingredients,” heavy metals such as arsenic, pesticides, solvents, moisture content, microbial contaminants, intestinal bacteria and pathogens, dangerous molds that can cause infection and disease, and toxins produced by molds. In addition, a laboratory must also meet the accreditation standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii are required to have their products tested for safety by a state-certified independent laboratory prior to sale. Laboratories interested in providing testing for medical cannabis on Kauai, Hawaii Island, Maui, or Oahu may apply for state certification at http://health.hawaii.gov/statelab.

Hawaii Governor’s Statement on the Request for Voter Roll Data from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity

Governor Ige’s Statement on the request for voter roll data from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

The State of Hawai‘i has received no request for voter roll data from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.  Taking a look at what other states have received, I’m skeptical.  At this point, we have no assurance that personal information would be secured.  It also appears that the commission aims to address voter fraud.  By all accounts, incidents of actual voter fraud are extremely rare.  I’m concerned this type of investigation would lead to a denial of voter access.  When we get the request, I will share my concerns with state and county elections officials.

From what I’ve heard, I don’t think we should share these records.

AirAsia X Touches Down in Honolulu – Inaugural Flight Marks Successful Entry Into the U.S.

Flight D7 001 from long-haul low-cost carrier AirAsia X landed at Honolulu International Airport on June 28, marking the airline’s first foray into the US.

(PRNewsfoto/AirAsia X)

The four times weekly route departed from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for Honolulu, Hawaii via Osaka, Japan.

The successful inaugural flight was followed by a celebration and press conference event at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, graced by State of Hawaii Chief of Staff Mike McCartney; Malaysian Ambassador to the US HE Tan Sri Dr Zulhasnan Rafique; Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO George D. Szigeti; AirAsia X Chairperson Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail.

AirAsia X Chairperson Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz said, “We are here to democratize air travel for everyone so flying long haul would no longer be a luxury only a few could enjoy. This landmark route to Hawaii is a bold new chapter in that quest to help more people travel farther for less. But this is just the beginning, and soon our guests will be able to enjoy flights to even more destinations in the US as we continue to grow our international footprint.”

Last week, AirAsia was named the World’s Best Low Cost Airline for the ninth straight years while AirAsia X won the World’s Best Low Cost Airline Premium Cabin and Premium Seat awards for the fifth consecutive year at the Skytrax World Airline Awards held at the Paris Air Show.

“We are deeply honored AirAsia X has chosen Honolulu as its initial destination to expand service in the United States and appreciate how this route strengthens our ties with the people and culture of Malaysia,” said George D. Szigeti, President and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “AirAsia X customers in Kuala Lumpur and Osaka will enjoy the convenience of this direct service and how it connects them with the welcoming aloha spirit of the Hawaiian culture, the spectacular natural beauty of our islands, and the diversity of Asia Pacific influences that enriches the experience of being in Hawaii.”

To celebrate the inaugural flight, AirAsia X will be offering one-way fares from as low as USD189* for a standard seat or USD799* for the award-winning Premium Flatbed from Honolulu to Kuala Lumpur; or USD149* for a standard seat or USD699* for the Premium Flatbed from Honolulu to Osaka. These promotional fares are available on airasia.com now through July 2 for travel between October 1, 2017 and August 28, 2018.

The capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is known around the world for its iconic, modern skyline featuring the Petronas Twin Towers. The city is a major shopping haven for tourists and its multi-cultural culinary scene attracts visitors from across the globe. Outside the city limits, Kuala Lumpur serves as a gateway to the UNESCO Heritage Site of Melaka, just about two hour’s drive away from the airport. No matter what your interests, it all happens in Kuala Lumpur.

Osaka is Japan’s third largest city located in the Kansai region. A city that loves to eat, Osaka’s unofficial slogan is kuidaore. which literally means ‘eat until you drop.’ Takoyaki (octopus balls), Okonomiyaki (pan-fried batter cake), udon and other traditional Japanese culinary are some of the must-try food in Osaka. Visitor can stroll along the river at Dotombori and take a selfie with the famous Glico billboard, visit the majestic Osaka Castle, enjoy the thrills at Universal Studio Japan and many more.

* One-way all-in fare inclusive of taxes and fees. Terms and conditions apply.

Flight Schedule for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (KUL) to Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL) via Osaka, Japan (KIX)

Note: All times listed are local unless otherwise stated.

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.