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Notice – Attorneys Interested in Providing Legal Services to DLNR as Hearing Officer in Thirty Meter Telescope CDUP PERMIT Contested Case

In anticipation of the need for the Board of Land and Natural Resources to hold a  contested case hearing on In Re Petitions Requesting a Contested Case Hearing Re Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) for the Thirty Meter Telescope at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, Kaohe Mauka, Hamakua District, Island of Hawaiʻi, TMK (3) 4-4-015:009, the Department of Land and Natural Resources now seeks qualified applicants to provide professional legal services as a hearing officer in this potential case which is pending a remand to the Board by the Third Circuit Court of the State.

TMT laser

Qualifications

An applicant must possess the following basic qualifications:

  • Being an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Hawaiʻi and in good standing;
  • Being able to serve with strict impartiality and no conflicts of interest or appearance of conflict;
  • Being available to devote a substantial amount of time in the next six to twelve months; and
  • Willing to accept the prevailing charge rate relevant to the professional service as a hearing officer, as determined by the Department.

Other desirable qualifications include civil litigation experience, practice in administrative law and process, familiarity with government proceedings and procedures, and knowledge of the Hawaii Revised Statutes and Hawaii Administrative Rules administered by the Department.

Submittal Requirements

Qualified parties interested in being considered for selection are invited to submit a letter of interest with a curriculum vitae or resume to:

            Department of Land and Natural Resources
Attn: Administrative Proceedings Office
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 130
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Facsimile: (808) 587-0390
E-Mail: DLNR.CO.APO@HAWAII.GOV

Applicants from the same company or law firm must submit separate applications to the Department.  Applications may be submitted by mail, facsimile or electronic mail.  The Department will not be responsible for lost or misdirected mails.

All submittals must be received by the Department or postmarked by Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 4:30 p.m. to be considered.

New Sea Cucumber Rules Signed Into Law By Hawaii Governor – Bans All Large-Scale Commercial Harvesting

Following on the heels of a 120-day emergency rule, which had temporarily banned all harvesting of sea cucumbers in Hawaii, today Governor David Ige signed a measure which severely limits collection of sea cucumbers.  Governor Ige stated, “The DLNR worked quickly to stop the mass harvesting of sea cucumbers, and then to develop and propose permanent rules.  This action is expected to protect and sustain critically important sea cucumber populations in our near-shore waters.”

Sea Cucumber

The permanent rule bans any large-scale commercial harvesting of sea cucumbers.  It will take effect on January 10, 2016.  Harvesting spiked earlier this year when collectors virtually cleared some near-shore waters on Maui and Oahu of the creatures which are considered the “vacuum cleaners of the ocean.”

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “Under the law, now in effect, licensed aquarium collectors are allowed to harvest two species of sea cucumbers from Oahu waters only, with a 20-per-day maximum and an annual take of no more than 3600 for the entire commercial fishery.  These numbers are based on data collected over many years and is expected to be sustainable.”  Case added, “The rules allow a small level of take for personal, non-commercial use.  We will continue to monitor the sea cucumber population over the next few years to determine whether we’ve correctly set the harvest at sustainable levels, and if not whether we need to make adjustments in the future.”

Sea cucumber populations across the Pacific and elsewhere have been decimated by large-scale commercial harvesting. These rules were approved by the State Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) on Dec. 11, 2015, after a series of statewide hearings. Prior to the implementation of the 120-day emergency rule, Hawaii did not have any regulations regarding sea cucumber harvesting.  This year was the first time that mass harvesting happened in Hawaiian waters and once the state became aware of the issue, it acted swiftly to investigate and to get permanent rules into place.

Dr. Bruce Anderson, the Administrator of the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) commented, “I’m very proud of the work DAR and the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) did to address this issue so quickly. Without this prompt action the short-lived, mass harvest of sea cucumbers could have been an ecological disaster for the sea cucumber and its role in the health of Hawaii’s coral reefs.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases Rises to 160 on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases has risen by 3 more cases since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 160.

Mosquito BiteAs of December 17, 2015*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 4 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 7 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
5 Illness onset 12/7/15 to 12/9/15
Cases no longer infectious
155 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 12/06/15
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
160

Of the confirmed cases, 143 are Hawaii Island residents and 17 are visitors.
126 cases have been adults; 34 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 12/9/15.

As of today, a total of 627 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

For a map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases, click HERE**. (Updated December 16, 2015)

For Hawaii Island Dengue Fever Unified Command Updates, click HERE. (Updated December 2, 2015)

Interim Assessment of the Response by the Hawaii State Department of Health to the Dengue Outbreak on the Island of Hawaii

Hawaii Ranked in Bottom Five States for Economic Freedom

An extensive survey of economic freedom in the United States, Canada, and Mexico shows Hawaii as one of the five worst performing U.S. states, tied for 46th place with New Mexico. The report, Economic Freedom of North America, is published by the Fraser Institute and co-published by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, the Aloha state’s free market think-tank.
economic freedomThe comparative survey of economic freedom is based on ten different factors in the areas of government spending, taxes, and labor market freedom. Overall, the report notes that economic freedom has been declining in North America as further constraints are added to the ability of individuals to act in the economic sphere. The localities with the best scores on the Index are Canadian, with New Hampshire coming in as the most economically free state.

Placement on the Index not only indicates comparative economic freedom in a region, but also economic success. The report notes a positive correlation between economic freedom and economic growth, per-capital size of the economy, and entrepreneurial activity. Per capita income also reflected the position on the Index, with the least free quartile having a average per-capita income nearly 8% below the national average, while the most-free quartile was almost 7% above it.

“Hawaii’s abysmal showing as one of the least economically free states in the U.S. is no surprise to those of us who have been advocating for change in the state,” said Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. “It is well-known that the burdensome regulation and taxation schemes of our state discourage investment and entrepreneurship–and are especially unwelcoming to small business.”

“With the legislative session nearly upon us, it is critical that we address the lack of economic freedom with new policies based on best practices and a focus on real reform,” Dr. Akina continued. “In the next month, the Grassroot Institute will be hosting a panel where we will discuss the necessary steps to making our state more economically free and in which we will release a special Hawaii supplement to the EFNA report. We will, of course, be inviting all legislators to join us for that event and we hope they will take advantage to learn more about the policies that can turn around the state’s economic performance.”

The Economic Freedom of North America can be viewed at:  http://www.freetheworld.com/efna.html

Confirmed Cases of Dengue Fever Rises to 107 on the Big Island of Hawaii

As of November 26, 2015*:

Hawaii Island residents 93
Visitors 14
Confirmed cases, TOTAL 107

Of the confirmed cases, 93 are Hawaii residents and 14 are visitors.
83 cases have been adults; twenty-four have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 11/18/15.

Mosquito Bite

As of today, a total of 230 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

For a map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases, click HERE**. (Updated November 25, 2015)

Hawaii Loses Ground on Business Tax Climate

In a nationwide survey of state tax structures, Hawaii continues its stagnant economic performance, ranking 31st out of 50 states in the 2016 State Business Tax Climate Index. The study, released today by the Tax Foundation, compares five different metrics in a state’s tax system to calculate the state rankings–Corporate Taxes, Individual Income Taxes, Sales Tax, Unemployment Insurance Tax, and Property Tax.
tax climate index
While other states have enacted reforms that have improved their rankings and encouraged investment in their state, Hawaii has done little to improve its tax climate. This year’s ranking represents a minor slide, down from a ranking of 30 in the 2015 Index. The worst performance came in the category of Individual Income Tax (#37), while the best was in Corporate Tax (#10). The dichotomy demonstrates that economic stimulus requires a broader approach than focusing solely on corporate taxes and tax credits.

Individual Income Tax is actually one of the best indicators for how business-friendly a state truly is. A number of businesses, including sole proprietorships, S corporations, and partnerships, report their business income via the individual income tax code. It can also affect the labor pool as high income taxes chase potential workers to friendlier states. In order to encourage small business and entrepreneurship, taxes like the individual income tax and the general excise tax need to be reexamined.

“This ranking simply demonstrates that the leadership in our state is running out of ideas when it comes to encouraging investment and growth,” stated Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grasssroot Institute. “The current scheme does nothing to help small businesses, but only contributes to the high cost of living and the state’s brain drain. We need reforms that will make Hawaii more affordable–to live, to do business in, and to work in. That starts with real, effective tax reform that will help keep people and jobs in the state.”

The 2016 State Business Tax Climate Index can be found at http://taxfoundation.org/

Hawaii Division of Financial Institutions Offers Guidance on Banking and Marijuana

The Commissioner of Financial Institutions, Iris Ikeda, presented considerations for banks and other financial institutions when dealing with marijuana related businesses at the Hawaii State Bar Association Convention on Oct. 23, 2015.

Click to view files

Click to view files

“The approval for licensing of medical marijuana dispensaries presents an upcoming challenge for banks,” said Commissioner Ikeda. “Before authorized dispensaries begin doing business, which could be as early as July 2016, banks and other financial institutions dealing with these businesses should take into account regulatory risks posed by the Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering Act.”

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Division of Financial Institutions (DFI), which regulates state-chartered and state-licensed financial institutions, is in communication with Federal Reserve Bank and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) regulators on the implementation of Hawaii’s law for medical marijuana.

Outreach to financial institutions with guidance on opening accounts for marijuana related businesses has been conducted by DFI. DFI also hosts a collection of guidance from various federal agencies called “Banking and Marijuana” on its website http://cca.hawaii.gov/dfi/.

“Uncorked” Food & Wine Festival at The Shops at Mauna Lani

The Shops at Mauna Lani “Uncorked” Food & Wine Festival on Saturday, November 14, 2015 is a one-night getaway for those who love exceptional food and wine, in the friendly, open-air atmosphere of The Shops at Mauna Lani. Running from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., attendees are invited to sample special dishes from eight top Hawai‘i chefs as well as a variety of wines from around the world, craft beer and other libations. The festival benefits the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawai‘i Island (VASH) which assists Hawai‘i visitors touched by adversity during their stay.

VASH, a volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) nonprofit, provides supportive services to help visitors cope with adversity, from a lost wallet to a serious medical situation or the death of a loved one. In 2015 so far, VASH has seen a significant increase in visitor requests, increasing the need to train and recruit people to help handle the increased workload while maintaining spirit of Aloha in difficult situations.

Mele‘uhane

Mele‘uhane

A highlight of this year’s festival is “Mele‘uhane,” the melodic collaboration of Keikilani Lindsey and son Leokani, fifth and sixth-generation Hawaiian musicians and storytellers. Their first duo album, “Mele‘uhane” (spirit of the music) was a Hōkū Hanohano nominee this year, and they are often invited to play with John Cruz, Henry Kapono and other Hawaiian music stars.

The “Uncorked” dining experience features food tastings from the “izakaya-style” menu of Monstera, European flavors of The Blue Room, upscale vegan cuisine from Under the Bodhi Tree, contemporary island style by Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar, and the traditional sizzle of Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Guests will also be among the first to taste selections from the new Mai Grille by Allen Hess, plus items from Village Burger of Waimea and Shiono Sushi Mauna Lani.

Young’s Market and Southern Wine and Spirits will be presenting wines from around the world, while craft brews from Kona Brewing Company will be available to toast the occasion. Tickets are $50 in advance, $70 on the day of the event. A silent auction will be held the night of the event. As a special bonus, ticket holders will not only receive great offers from participating stores and restaurants at The Shops at Mauna Lani on the night of the event, they will also be able to show their “Uncorked Passport” during future visits for additional discounts valued at over $100.

Tickets are limited and may be purchased from participating stores and restaurants at The Shops at Mauna Lani including Tommy Bahama Restaurant, The Blue Room, Monstera, Under the Bodhi Tree, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Fine Hawaiian Gift Gallery, Third Dimension Gallery, Lahaina Gallery, or buy online at www.BrownPaperTickets.com. Tickets will also be available for sale from VASH members.

For more information, call 808-885-9501, or visit www.ShopsAtMaunaLani.com.

Tsunami MAY Hit Hawaii Around 3:06 AM

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a Tsunami Watch for the State of Hawaii effective 1:24 pm this afternoon.

Civildefense

An earthquake with a magnitude of 8.3 occurred off the coast of Chile.  A tsunami watch means that an earthquake has occurred with a magnitude that could possibly generate a destructive tsunami.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center continues to monitor the event and evaluate all data to confirm if a destructive Pacific Wide tsunami has been generated  If a destructive tsunami has been generated the estimated time of initial arrival in Hawaii is 3:06 am tomorrow morning.

Please monitor local radio broadcasts for further updates.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Propose New Electronic Vehicle Charging Rates

The Hawaiian Electric Companies have asked the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve discount electric vehicle charging rates in a new time-of-use program.

The new rates aim to promote plug-in electric vehicle use by offering simpler terms and sign-up procedures compared to the existing EV discount charging pilot and to foster more use of excess electricity generated by rooftop solar systems during the middle of the day.

Hawaiian Electric is recommending that customers enrolled in the present EV time-of-use pilot program have the option to continue at their existing rates when the current pilot expires at the end of September, 2015.

“EV numbers continue to increase and automakers are bringing more advanced plug-in electric vehicles to market. And with over 70,000 customers statewide who have or will soon have rooftop solar, we see increasing amounts of excess solar electricity available at mid-day,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service.

“The proposed new rates will help make greater use of that solar electricity and accelerate EV adoption in Hawaii,” Alberts said.

In addition to upgraded discount charging rates, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are installing up to 25 DC fast chargers across Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii Island to alleviate EV drivers’ “range anxiety” and working with stakeholders on other endeavors as new ideas and technologies enter the market.

The proposed rates will have only two time-of-use schedules over 24 hours instead of three. Charging an EV at home using electricity from the grid will be most expensive during peak electricity demand from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. All other hours will be at the less expensive off-peak rate. EV owners may still choose to add a separate meter just for EV charging or keep a single meter for all household and charging use.

Signing up for EV rates will also be simpler. Customers need only certify ownership of a plug-in electric vehicle. As with the discount charging pilot in place for the last five years, customers on Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Oahu would be eligible to participate, upon PUC approval.

For commercial customers, the proposed new EV rates will waive “demand charges” during off-peak periods and eliminate demand charge minimums. This will make it less expensive for commercial customers who wish to provide charging for EV fleets or their customers with EVs.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are asking the PUC to approve this proposal by the end of September when the present pilot ends. The companies suggest the new program last until June 30, 2020, when all EV rates would be re-considered for the future.

The new rate is designed to provide more off-peak hours for home EV charging with a 6.1¢ per kWh savings for a typical residential customer on Oahu. By charging off-peak, that driver is estimated to save half the cost to “fuel” an electric vehicle (compared to a mid-sized gasoline-fueled sedan) by buying no gasoline but paying a slightly higher monthly electric bill. The proposed per kWh savings for off-peak EV charging for a typical residential customer on Hawaii Island is 9.2¢; on Maui is 7.3¢; on Lanai is 7.1¢; and on Molokai is 9.4¢.

Here are comparative sample driving costs under the proposed rates based on Oahu electricity and gasoline costs:

energy costs

Hurricane Advisory Issued for Hawaii

8215 hur

  1. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu, Hawaii is issuing advisories on hurricane Guillermo located about 680 miles east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii and moving west-northwest near 10 miles an hour. Guillermo advisories are being issued under AWIPS header TCPCP4 and WMO header WTPA34 PHFO.
  2. A weak low pressure area, the remnant of post-tropical cyclone Eight-E, was located about 515 miles south-southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii. This feature was moving west at 10 to 15 miles an hour. Atmospheric conditions are expected to remain unfavorable for redevelopment over the next couple of days.

* Formation chance through 48 hours, low, near 0 percent.

  1. Isolated thunderstorms had been occurring in the vicinity of a weak low pressure area centered about 1245 miles west-southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii. This area was moving west around 10 miles an hour. Upper level winds will likely inhibit tropical cyclone development in this area over the next couple of days.

Seven Hawaii Schools to Offer Free Meals to All Students

This school year, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will implement a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pilot program this school year at seven public schools, which will allow all students at those schools to receive free meal service.

Free Lunch

The program, called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), allows a school district, a group of schools or a single school to serve free meals to everyone even if they do not qualify for the free or reduced lunch reimbursement.

The CEP program has been adopted by jurisdictions around the country. “One major factor in the future of the program is the high cost of a meal in Hawaii compared with the much lower rates around the country,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We’re grateful for this opportunity to participate in this pilot to benefit families in need.”

The schools participating in the pilot program are:

To qualify for CEP, a district, grouping or school must have a minimum of 40 percent or more of its students eligible for free or reduced meals through the National School Lunch Program.

Currently HIDOE pays an average of $5.50 a meal (including food costs, labor, utilities, etc.). The USDA reimburses the state $3.85 for students who qualify for a free meal and $0.40 for those paying for a meal. HIDOE charges $2.50 for elementary school lunch for a total of $2.90 in recouped cost for the state.​

Under the program, all students in a CEP school would qualify for the higher $3.85 reimbursement. While the seven pilot schools will no longer be collecting meal monies and ensuring accounts have sufficient funds, families will be required to provide information for data collection.

“The schools were chosen so that the Department can analyze how families and students in a single island community such as Molokai, respond to the program while also giving officials the chance to study the impact of individual schools in separate and distinct districts on Oahu and Hawaii Island,” Office of School Facilities and Support Services Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson said.

For more information about CEP visit: http://bit.ly/HawaiiCEP

 

Department of Education Updates Income Qualifications for Free and Reduced Lunch

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) is announcing its policy update for free and reduced-price meals for children unable to pay the full price of meals served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs for the 2015-16 school year. Copies of the policy are available at public schools. Children from households with income at or below the following levels are eligible for free or reduced-price meals: 

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Application forms are being sent to all homes with a letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free or reduced-price meals, households should fill out one application and return it to the school where the child is enrolled or complete an online application via ezmealapp.com. Applications for the current school year (2015-16) are now being accepted. The application information will be used to determine eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by the school or other program officials.

For DOE officials to determine eligibility, households receiving SNAP or TANF must list the child’s name, date of birth, grade, school code and their SNAP or TANF case number and the signature and name of an adult household member. Households not receiving SNAP or TANF must list: 1) the names of everyone in the household; 2) the amount of income received by each person, how often the income is received and the source of the income; 3) the name and social security number of either parent/guardian who is the primary wage earner or the adult household member who signs the form or the word “none” if neither adult household member has a social security number; and 4) the signature of an adult household member.

Applications may be submitted at any time during the year. View our program page here​.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price policy, the DOE will review applications and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may wish to discuss the decision with the reviewing official on an informal basis. Parents wishing to make a formal appeal may make a request for a hearing on the decision in writing to:

Glenna Owens, SFA Director, 1106 Koko Head Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96816
Phone Number: (808) 733-8414 or toll-free 1-800-441-4845.

In certain cases foster children are also eligible for school meal benefits. If a household has foster children living with them and wishes to apply for them, the household should contact the school for more information.

The information provided by the household is confidential and will be used only for purposes of determining eligibility and verifying data.

In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

 

As Climate Warms Hawaiian Forest Birds Lose More Ground to Mosquitoes

Hawai‘i, the name alone elicits images of rhythmic traditional dancing, breathtaking azure sea coasts and scenes of vibrant birds flitting through lush jungle canopy. Unfortunately, the future of many native Hawaiian birds looks grim as diseases carried by mosquitoes are due to expand into higher elevation safe zones.

Palila Bird

A new study published in Global Change Biology, by researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, assesses how global climate change will affect future malaria risk to native Hawaiian bird populations in the coming century.

Mosquito-carried diseases such as avian pox and avian malaria have been devastating native Hawaiian forest birds. A single mosquito bite can transfer malaria parasites to a susceptible bird, where the death rate may exceed 90 percent for some species. As a result, many already threatened or endangered native birds now only survive in disease-free refuges found in high-elevation forests where mosquito populations and malaria development are limited by colder temperatures. Unlike continental bird species, island birds cannot move northward in response to climate change or increased disease stressors, but must adapt or move to less hospitable habitats to survive.

“We knew that temperature had significant effects on mosquitoes and malaria, but we were surprised that rainfall also played an important role,” said USGS Wisconsin Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit scientist Michael Samuel. “Additional rainfall will favor mosquitoes as much as the temperature change.”

With warming temperatures, mosquitoes will move farther upslope and increase in number. The authors expect high-elevation areas to remain mosquito-free, but only until mid-century when mosquito-friendly temperatures will begin to appear at higher elevations. Future increases in rainfall will likely benefit the mosquitoes as well.

Scientists know that historically, malaria has caused bird extinctions, but changing climates could affect the bird-mosquito-disease system in unknown ways. “We wanted to figure out how climate change impacts birds in the future,” said Wei Liao, post-doctorate at University of Wisconsin-Madison and lead author of the article.

As more mosquitoes move up the mountainside, disease-free refuges will no longer provide a safe haven for the most vulnerable species. The rate of disease infection is likely to speed up as the numbers of mosquitoes increase and more diseased birds become hosts to the parasites, continuing the cycle of infection to healthy birds.

Researchers conclude that future global climate change will cause substantial decreases in the abundance and diversity of remaining Hawaiian bird communities. Without significant intervention many native Hawaiian species, like the scarlet ‘I‘iwi with its iconic curved bill, will suffer major population declines or extinction due to increasing risk from avian malaria during the 21st century.

There is hope for the birds. Because these effects are unlikely to appear before mid-century, natural resource managers have time to implement conservation strategies to protect these unique species from further decimation. Land managers could work toward preventing forest bird number declines by restoring and improving habitat for the birds, reducing mosquitoes on a large scale and controlling predators of forest birds.

“Hawaiian forest birds are some of the most threatened forest birds in the world,” said Samuel. “They are totally unique to Hawai‘i and found nowhere else. They are also important to the Hawaiian culture. And at this point, we still don’t fully understand what role they play as pollinators and in forest dynamics.”

The article, “Will a Warmer and Wetter Future Cause Extinction of Native Hawaiian Forest Birds?” can be found in the online edition of Global Change Biology.

The work was supported by the Department of Interior Pacific Islands Climate Science Center, which is managed by the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center. The center is one of eight that provides scientific information to help natural resource managers respond effectively to climate change.

Police Officer and Woman Shot – Man Barricades Himself in North Kohala

At 7:48 p.m. Monday (July 13), patrol officers responded to a report of a domestic disturbance at a home on the 53-4200 block of Akoni Pule Highway in Halaula, North Kohala.

53-4200 Block Akoni Pule Highway

53-4200 Block Akoni Pule Highway

Responding officers contacted several neighbors in the area who reported loud yelling and screaming coming from the residence. Several people were then seen running from the house as officers approached from the driveway. A gunshot was fired at the officers, striking one officer in his right forearm.

A woman from the house approached the officers and said she had been shot in her outer thigh by her boyfriend.

Both the officer and the woman were taken to North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital for treatment of their injuries.

The 37-year-old man barricaded himself in the house and remains there. He is believed to be the only occupant.

The Hawaiʻi Police Department’s Special Response Team responded and neighboring residents were evacuated as a precaution.

The wounded 43-year-old officer is a 14-year veteran with the Hawaiʻi Police Department. He is listed in stable condition. The 32-year-old woman is also listed in stable condition.

Detectives with the Area II Criminal Investigations Division are continuing the investigation.

Because of this ongoing incident, Route 270 in North Kohala is closed in both directions near the 25-mile marker.

Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus Commends Governor for New Laws to Protect Women and Families

Measures signed into law provide security, protection against

Governor Ige today signed a package of bills into law which are measures that were introduced or advocated for by the Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus at the beginning of the 2015 Legislative Session.

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications  (L to R: Sen. Laura Thielen, Rep. Lynn DeCoite, Sen. Rosalyn Baker, Rep. Linda Ichiyama, Gov. David Ige, Rep. Dee Morikawa, Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, Rep. Della Au Belatti, Rep. Cynthia Thielen)

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications (L to R: Sen. Laura Thielen, Rep. Lynn DeCoite, Sen. Rosalyn Baker, Rep. Linda Ichiyama, Gov. David Ige, Rep. Dee Morikawa, Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, Rep. Della Au Belatti, Rep. Cynthia Thielen)

A total of six measures were enacted and two resolutions adopted by the Legislature this session that provide protection for victims of domestic violence, improve reporting and enforcement of domestic violence and sexual assaults, and makes an effort to reduce violence and sexual assaults on college campuses and restore public trust of Hawai‘i’s law enforcement community.

“The Women’s Legislative Caucus is pleased with the bills enacted this session. Having the Governor’s recognition and support for these measures is critically important as we strive to empower survivors of domestic violence and work towards improving the lives of women and families across the state,” said Rep. Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Mānoa).

“We appreciate the support from the Governor on these sound legislative policies we believe will improve the health and well-being of women, children and families throughout our State,” said Sen. Laura Thielen (Kailua, Lanikai, Enchanted Lake, Keolu Hills, Maunawili, Waimānalo, Hawai‘i Kai, Portlock). “The efforts of the Caucus this past session show how together we can create stronger communities.”

The bills signed into law are:

HB538 HD2 SD2 CD1 (Act 219)

RELATING TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Requires wireless telecommunications service providers to release domestic violence victims from shared service plans upon request and with documentation.  Authorizes the family court to order wireless providers to transfer billing authority for or release domestic violence victims from shared service plans upon petition by a victim.

HB858 HD2 SD2 CD1 (Act 220)

RELATING TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

Permits the termination of residential rental agreements in cases of domestic violence.  Specifies additional procedures under the residential landlord-tenant code for instances of domestic violence.

SB226 SD2 HD1 (Act 221)

RELATING TO ABUSE OF FAMILY OR HOUSEHOLD MEMBER.

Adds the definition of “business day” to the offense of abuse of a family or household member.  Repeals the 48-hour no contact provision and specifies that the period of separation a police officer orders for the person whom the police officer reasonably believes to have inflicted the abuse of a family or household member commences when the order is issued and expires at 6:00 p.m. on the second business day following the day the order was issued.

SB387 SD2 HD3 CD1 (Act 222)

RELATING TO AFFIRMATIVE CONSENT.

Establishes an affirmative consent task force to review and make recommendations on the University of Hawaii’s executive policy on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

SB388 HD1 (Act 30)

RELATING TO POLICE DEPARTMENTS

Requires each county police department to post its policies relating to domestic violence, officer-involved domestic violence, and standards of conduct on its official website.

HB448 (Act 203)

RELATING TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Requires the Department of Health (DOH) to conduct reviews of domestic violence fatalities, near-deaths, and suicides.  Authorizes DOH to enter into memoranda of understanding to obtain information relating to near-deaths resulting from intimate partner violence.

HR19 and SR9 are resolutions introduced by the Women’s Legislative Caucus which received bi-partisan support and were adopted at the end of the 2015 Legislative Session.

HR19

Requests the State Department of Defense to establish and fund a Veteran Women Services Coordinator position with the Office of Veterans’ Services

SR9

Requests the Honolulu Police Department to establish a family violence unit staffed with officers specifically trained to handle all complaints of family violence.

Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus

The Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus consists of female members from both the state Senate and House. Senators Rosalyn Baker and Suzanne Chun Oakland and Representatives Della Au Belatti and Cynthia Thielen serve as co-chairs of the Caucus. This year’s package of bills introduced by the Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus was dedicated to the Women’s Coalition in recognition of their commitment and advocacy for women and girls.

Innovative Wave Power Device Starts Producing Clean Power in Hawaii

With support from the Energy Department and the U.S. Navy, a prototype wave energy device has advanced successfully from initial concept to grid-connected, open-sea pilot testing.

The device, called Azura, was recently launched and installed in a 30-meter test berth at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Kaneohe Bay, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

Azura, was recently launched and installed in a 30-meter test berth at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Kaneohe Bay, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

Azura, was recently launched and installed in a 30-meter test berth at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Kaneohe Bay, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

This pilot testing is now giving U.S. researchers the opportunity to monitor and evaluate the long-term performance of the nation’s first grid-connected wave energy converter (WEC) device to be independently tested by a third party—the University of Hawaii—in the open ocean.

The project supports the Energy Department’s mission to research, test, and develop innovative technologies capable of generating renewable, environmentally responsible, and cost-effective electricity from clean energy resources, including water. Marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies, which generate power from waves, tides, or currents, are at an early but promising stage of development. Many coastal areas in the United States have strong wave and tidal resources, and more than 50 percent of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of a coastline, making transmission from these resources more economical.

With further progress towards commercialization, MHK technologies could make substantial contributions to our nation’s electricity needs. To accelerate commercialization of wave energy devices, the Energy Department funds research and development—from laboratory and field-testing of individual components, up to demonstration and deployment of complete utility-scale systems.

The first phase of Azura’s development involved testing a smaller prototype in a wave tank and later deploying a prototype—at the same scale as the new deployment—in a controlled, open-sea area off the coast of Oregon in 2014. Those successful tests helped Azura’s developer, Northwest Energy Innovations (NWEI) of Portland, Oregon, verify the functionality of the device while collecting comprehensive performance data that could lower the cost of wave energy technologies in the future.

To further advance Azura towards commercialization, NWEI recently launched its grid-connected 20-kilowatt demonstration project at WETS. The current phase of in-water testing at the WETS’s 30-meter test berth has already proven valuable in gathering performance and reliability data from the device in deepwater, open-ocean conditions. The data will be used to further optimize Azura’s performance and refine existing wave energy computer simulations, ultimately supporting commercialization of this technology.

NWEI, with $5 million in additional funding from the Energy Department, will apply lessons learned from this current phase of development to modify the device design in order to improve its efficiency and reliability. NWEI plans to then test the improved design with a full-scale device rated between 500 kilowatts and one megawatt at WETS at even deeper test berths of 60 meters to 80 meters over the next several years, further supporting efforts to build a robust and competitive MHK industry in the United States.

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. EERE supports innovative approaches that reduce both the risk and costs of bringing MHK technologies online. Watch our Energy 101: Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy video, and learn more about the Department’s efforts to support MHK research and development.

Big Island Medical Marijuana Collective Open for Business

Alternative Pain Management Pu`uhonua’s Collective is celebrating being open for 6 months.

medical marijuana in jarsThe Big Island’s First Medical Cannabis Collective is dedicated to providing a medical cannabis community, access to an uninterrupted supply of medical cannabis in all forms, safe disposal of excess medical cannabis for compensation, expert consultations, legal resources, access to other members strains and techniques, professional advise on the safe consumption of medical cannabis in all forms, discount medical supplies and much more. As member’s health and safety is important, MyDx purity testing device is coming soon and starting in July all medicine will be analyzed prior to being transferred.

It is free to join! All members must have a valid medical marijuana certification, state ID, complete an intake and agreement form and sign a confidentiality statement.

The Collective is located in Mountain View and is your one stop shop for all of your medical cannabis needs. New members are processed on MondaysWednesdays and Fridays. Once you’ve joined, the Collective is open 7 days a week from 8 A.M. to 4 P.M.. Call 968-0633 and ask for Mike to make your appointment to join.

Big Island Senator Urges Action on Federal Highway Fund Extension

The recently appointed Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy is expressing grave concern over the looming expiration date on federal transportation funding.

Sen. Lorraine Inouye

Sen. Lorraine Inouye

Senator Lorraine Inouye (Dist. 4 – N. Kona, Kohala, N. Hilo, Hāmākua) addressed Hawai‘i’s Congressional delegation in a letter urging action on federal funding authorization to avoid a lapse in funding that would severely impact state projects and to support the passage of a bill that will create a more sustainable funding stream for individual transportation projects on a long-term basis.

“Hawai‘i relies greatly on federal funds, as do other states, and our State’s transportation projects depend on long-term commitments from federal funding,” said Sen. Inouye. “It is imperative for Congress to continue to fund projects that have already started while looking for additional long-term solutions that continue to support Hawai‘i’s needs.”

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved HR 2353, the Highway Transportation Funding Act of 2015.  The bill extends funding for the Highway Trust Fund until July 31 through a series of “reconciliation of funds” measures amending the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014. The bill now goes on to the Senate.

Congress has until May 31 to take action on authorizing federal funding for state highway, bridge, and transit projects.  Without action prior to this date, federal aid funds for state projects would be halted. 

Hawaii Ranks Fourth for Senior Health According to Annual America’s Health Rankings Senior Report

Hawaii ranked fourth for senior health this year, according to the third edition of United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Senior Report: A Call to Action for Individuals and Their Communities.

2015 Senior Report

Nationwide, the report shows positive trends for senior health, especially for those measures that look at whether seniors are getting the right care in a setting of their choice. Seniors are experiencing lower hospital readmission rates and preventable hospitalization rates compared to last year, while hospice care use and the number of home healthcare workers have increased.

“United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Senior Report is a vital tool for understanding where we, as a state, are making strides in senior health and where key challenges for Hawaii’s seniors remain,” said Ron Fujimoto, D.O., chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare’s Community Plan for Hawaii. “With America’s senior population poised to double by 2050, we must continue to invest in programs and solutions that address our seniors’ health needs and help them live the best lives they possibly can.”

Hawaii’s Overall Health

The America’s Health Rankings Senior Report finds that Hawaii has its share of strengths and challenges.

Hawaii’s Strengths

  • Low prevalence of obesity
  • Low geriatrician shortfall
  • Low hip fracture rate

Hawaii’s Challenges

  • High prevalence of underweight seniors
  • High prevalence of activity-limiting arthritis pain
  • High percentage of hospital deaths

50-State Snapshot: Vermont is the Healthiest State for Seniors

According to the report, Vermont is the healthiest state for seniors, rising from fourth place last year. New Hampshire ranks second, improving one spot from last year. Minnesota fell to third after being ranked first for two years in a row, while Hawaii (4) and Utah (5) round out the top five states. Louisiana ranks 50th as the least healthy state for older adults, followed by Mississippi (49), Kentucky (48), Arkansas (47) and Oklahoma (46).

To see the Rankings in full, visit: www.americashealthrankings.org/senior

The report shows that seniors are improving in key care trends, particularly in metrics that examine whether seniors are getting the right care in the setting of their choice, pointing to a health system that may be working better for seniors.

Key findings include:

  • Preventable hospitalizations dropped 8.6 percent, from 64.9 percent of discharges for Medicare beneficiaries last year to 59.3 percent of discharges in 2015. The decrease marks an 11 percent decline in preventable hospitalizations since the 2013 edition.
  • More seniors are spending their last days in the setting they prefer. Hospice care – which can be delivered in a home setting – increased from 47.5 percent to 50.6 percent of decedents aged 65 and older, while hospital deaths decreased from 25 percent to 22.8 percent of decedents. Hospice care rose 38 percent since the report’s inception in 2013.
  • The number of home healthcare workers increased 9.3 percent compared to last year, which may indicate that home care is an increasingly accessible option for today’s seniors.
  • More seniors received the flu vaccine compared to last year, rising from 60.1 percent of seniors in 2014 to 62.8 percent this year. Seniors are particularly susceptible to flu and flu-related complications, making it vital that they receive the vaccine each year.
  • Seniors are reporting feeling better. The findings showed a 4.8 percent increase in self-reported high health status to 41.8 percent this year, contributing to a 9 percent increase over the past two years.

“It is heartening to see seniors’ health is improving, but our societal challenge remains finding ways to encourage more seniors to be more active,” said Rhonda Randall, D.O., senior adviser to United Health Foundation, and chief medical officer and executive vice president, UnitedHealthcare Retiree Solutions. “Strong community support is an essential part of promoting positive health among seniors. We must work together – across states, communities and our own families – to encourage all seniors to find ways to be as active as they’re able to be.”

After showing promising improvements in last year’s edition, physical inactivity rates increased in 2015; one-third of seniors (33.1 percent) did not get any physical activity or exercise outside of work, marking a 15.3 percent increase from the previous year (28.7 percent). Other worrisome trends for senior health include:

  • 37.6 percent of seniors have four or more chronic conditions;
  • 26.7 percent of seniors are obese;
  • 8.7 percent of seniors smoke; and
  • 16.1 percent of seniors have had all of their teeth removed due to tooth decay or gum disease.

In addition, despite promising gains in end-of-life care metrics, community support spending per capita for seniors – support that helps older adults stay in their homes – has declined by 23.9 percent in the past two years.

“Progress in key metrics such as preventable hospitalizations and hospice care show that more seniors are aging comfortably and receiving preferred types of support – a trend that not only benefits our healthcare system but helps ensure seniors’ well-being at each step of the aging process,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., senior medical adviser to United Health Foundation. “We are excited to be making progress toward strong, personalized care for all seniors and look forward to seeing continued momentum in this area.”

To see the state Rankings in full, visit: www.americashealthrankings.org/senior