Statement From University of Hawaii President David Lassner

As a matter of policy and in accordance with Hawaii public records law, university personnel matters are confidential and we abide by that commitment to confidentiality out of respect for our employees. Experience teaches that personnel issues are best addressed in private, and when a change in leadership is necessary, it is best accomplished with as much dignity as the circumstances permit.

David Lassner

David Lassner

It is my job as President to hold the executives who report to me accountable for their performance and the effectiveness of their leadership. At UH, this is a holistic process that spans the full range of the executive’s duties and responsibilities, not a reaction to specific incidents. I have maintained confidentiality both to provide the chancellor the privacy and dignity that any of us would want for ourselves in a difficult personnel situation, as well as to attempt to avoid disruption to the university’s critical work of teaching, learning, scholarship and service.

Unfortunately, many statements are circulating and the privacy I had hoped for has been compromised with a mix of truths and rumors from many sources. I regret that my attempt at maintaining privacy and dignity has been perceived by some as lacking transparency and accountability. And I am truly sorry this has become a public spectacle.

UH Manoa is Hawaii’s only research university and the flagship campus of our UH System. I am committed to fully supporting our UH Manoa students, who work every day to develop the knowledge and skills for success in their careers and as contributing citizens in our communities. I am committed to supporting our superb UH Manoa faculty members, who teach and mentor students every day and engage in scholarship to advance human knowledge and address the challenges and opportunities facing our communities. And I am committed to supporting our hardworking UH Manoa staff and administrators who every day balance the complexity of multiple missions and expectations from internal communities and external stakeholders.

At this time we all need to focus on polishing our crown jewel in the new financial environment faced by UH and public higher education across the country. The financial conditions that have developed at UH Manoa over the past two years must be addressed with thoughtful leadership and deep collaboration. I am committed to embracing this broader challenge with effective campus leadership in a considered, open and collegial manner with the faculty, students, and staff of the UH Manoa campus and our stakeholders across the State of Hawaii.

Governor Abercrombie Submits Supplemental Budget to State Legislature

In compliance with Article VII, Section 9, of the Hawaii Constitution, the Abercrombie Administration today submitted its Executive Supplemental Budget for Fiscal Biennium 2013-2015 and updated Program and Financial Plan for 2013-2019 to the state Legislature.

2014 Abercrombie Budget

“The supplemental budget and plan continue responsible management of state fiscal affairs in order to build upon the $1.1 billion turnaround our state has achieved,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “At the same time, we recognize that Hawaii’s improved fiscal position allows us to better address important issues such as early learning and development, support for our seniors, environmental protection, and homelessness. The supplemental budget provides an opportunity to navigate our economic environment for the maximum benefit of the people of Hawaii.”

The administration further committed to building the financial strength of the state by outlining in the plan a strategy to recapitalize state reserves to higher than pre-recession levels.

“We have set a targeted objective to build state reserves to 10 percent of general fund revenues,” said Kalbert Young, state finance director. “These reserves will allow the state to weather future economic downturns and mitigate against cyclical public service cutbacks.”

Accordingly, the Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund will receive $50 million in fiscal year 2014. The Hurricane Reserve Trust Fund will receive $50 million in fiscal year 2014, which is in addition to the $55.5 million in general excise tax revenues transferred this fiscal year, pursuant to Act 62, SLH 2011.

Through separate legislation, the administration will also be proposing the transfer of $50 million to each fund in fiscal year 2015. The estimated balance of Hawaii’s reserves after these transfers will be more than $372 million, or 5.6 percent of projected general fund revenues in fiscal year 2015 –already more than halfway to the 10 percent target.

Simultaneously, the state’s commitment to forward fund its Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) unfunded liability begins this fiscal year with a landmark payment of $100 million and, in fiscal year 2015, a payment of $117.4 million.

The supplemental budget continues to provide stimulus to the economy while still adhering to the optimized debt profile that has been achieved through proper management of the state’s long-term debt. The budget includes funding for an additional $351.7 million in new general obligation bond-funded capital improvement projects. The state will more appropriately address much needed repair and maintenance projects by converting $187.4 million in previously approved bond-funded expenditures to general funds. The budget also proposes to fund an additional $100 million in repair and maintenance in fiscal year 2015. By directing more bond funds to long-term assets and using general funds to address immediate and short-term repair and maintenance, the state continues its more fiscally prudent management of capital improvement projects.

In addition, the budget includes the following increased support for a variety of initiatives:

Investments in Hawaii’s Children

  • More than $5.4 million additional for early learning and development initiatives, a priority of the administration. Approximately $4.4 million of that would aid the Executive Office on Early Learning in working with the Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) to establish prekindergarten classes on DOE campuses, and $1 million would fund Family-Child Interaction Learning (FCIL) programs for family engagement for four-year-olds.
  • $2.5 million more proposed for Preschool Open Doors. The new voluntary program administered by the state Department of Human Services enhances access to school readiness services for 4-year-old children, with priority extended to underserved or at-risk keiki and those who are not eligible to attend public school kindergarten in the school year they turn 5 because their birth date occurs after the kindergarten eligibility date.

Support for Seniors

  • More than $4.5 million requested for programs that support older residents, of which $4.2 million is proposed for the Kupuna Care program and $427,937 for Adult Disability Resource Centers.

Environmental Preservation

  • An additional $40 million for conservation purposes at Turtle Bay, as proposed by the Turtle Bay working group last month. The working group was established by Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR164) during the 2013 legislative session and tasked with developing a conservation action plan to explore and identify conservation alternatives for the undeveloped portions of the Turtle Bay property and surrounding lands with conservation or historic value.

Other Investments

  • $1.5 million requested for the Housing First program to assist the most vulnerable of Hawaii’s homeless.
  • Ten positions and $1 million to expand Healthcare Transformation initiatives.
  • Restoration of eight positions and an additional $188,269 for the Hawaii Department of Agriculture within the department’s pesticides program.
  • $3.1 million for Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui’s R.E.A.C.H. Initiative for afterschool programs for middle and intermediate afterschool programs
  • Approximately $33.5 million to the University of Hawaii, whose Board of Regents committed a portion of such funds towards issuance of revenue bonds for addressing much needed repair and maintenance projects. This amount represents collectively bargained salaries for the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly salaries. But, instead of paying for the salaries out of the tuition special fund, which only affects tuition rates, the funds will free up resources so that the tuition fund remains stable and assists UH’s repair and maintenance $400 million backlog.

“Although there are many priority needs that must be addressed, fiscal sustainability is essential,”Young added. “This plan will allow the state to address its priority needs while positioning itself to best handle uncertainties, such as economic slowdowns or the recent federal government shutdown, by building up our reserves and exercising continued fiscal prudence.”

The Budget in Brief is available for download from the Department of Budget and Finance website, here: http://budget.hawaii.gov/budget/

 

Bikes and Tires Being Stolen at UH Hilo

Well it looks like we have someone targeting bikes on the campus of UH Hilo:

UH Hilo Moniker

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

13-0309 (Theft)

Report Status: Pending.

Location: Resident Hall Hale Kauanoe Bike Rack.

Time Reported: Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 7:21 PM.

Incident Occured Between: 3:02 AM and 3:21 AM on Friday, December 13, 2013.

Crime Details:
A resident of Hale Kauanoe reported that bike front and rear wheels were stolen from the Hale Kauanoe bike rack. Security and HPD responded and initiated a Theft Report.

Permalink: 13-0309

13-0308 (Theft)

Report Status: Pending.

Location: Resident Hall Hale Kehau Bike Rack.

Time Reported: Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 6:21 PM.

Incident Start: Friday, December 13, 2013 at 5:30 PM.

Incident End: Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 5:30 PM.

Crime Details:
A resident of Hale Kehau reported that bike seat and rear wheel were stolen from the Hale Kehau bike rack. Security and HPD responded and initiated a Theft Report.

Permalink: 13-0308

Friday, December 13th, 2013

13-0307 (Theft)

Report Status: Pending.

Location: College of Agriculture Bike Rack.

Time Reported: Friday, December 13, 2013 at 5:48 PM.

Incident Start: Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM.

Incident End: Friday, December 13, 2013 at 5:45 PM.

Crime Details:
A bike was stolen from the College of Agriculture bike rack. Security and HPD responded and generated a theft report.

Eight To Be Recognized as 2013 Stars of Oceania

The University of Hawai‘i Pacific Business Center Program’s planning committee announced that eight women of and from Oceania will be honored at the third “Stars of Oceania” recognition dinner December 3, 2013 at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Oceana DinnerThe keynote speaker for event is Deputy Director Esther Kia’aina of the Hawaii State Government Department of Land and Natural Resources. Ms. Kia’aina is also a presidential appointee currently in the confirmation process in Washington D.C. as Assistant Secretary of Insular Affairs to the U.S. Department of the Interior.  Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawaii president and CEO, will be the master of ceremonies for the evening. Reverend Dr. Fran Palama will chant the oli to commence the evening and the UH ROTC will present and retire the colors for the event.

“Primarily we wanted to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Pacific Islanders and residents not born and raised as such, but whose heart and service is testimony to their love for the islands they call home.  Their impacts are felt in and from Hawai‘i as well as other parts of the Pacific, the nation and the world. Each represents multiple dimensions of leadership to overcome challenges with Aloha, courage, faith and perseverance in their fields of endeavor,” stated UH Pacific Business Center Program Director, Dr. Tusi Avegalio, the primary organizer of the event.  These women inspire us to look forward to the flowering of a vision where everyone is a Star of Oceania and committed part of the vast constellation of hope, faith, courage and Aloha that will restore alignment, balance and harmony to a world so lacking in it.

The “Stars of Oceania” was inaugurated in 2006 with the intent to continue every three to four years. This year’s recognition dinner is not an award or reward ceremony for distinguished service, but to recognize and acknowledge these outstanding women for doing the right thing.  All have been rewarded and awarded on many occasions and deservedly so. The “Stars of Oceania” recognizes that the attributes of service and sacrifice to raise the common good is much like Aloha, not an attribute of a particular culture, ethnicity nor geographical boundary. The event honors one’s sense of humanity.

 

2013 Honorees

1.  Dr. Sela Panapasa                      Rotuma, Fiji

Health Leadership. Conducting research, analysis and reporting from the University of Michigan that is impacting the Pacific region and the U.S. regarding elderly care and policy development for health and nutrition for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

2. Dr. Diane Ragone                        Virginia

Humanitarian Leadership. Director of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens Breadfruit Institute. Her work on breadfruit to feed the hungry of the world has impacted disaster stricken areas in the Caribbean and Africa where mass planting of trees from Hawai‘i have fed hundreds of thousands over the decade.

3. Dr. Tin Myaing Thein       Myanmar

Compassionate Leadership. Executive Director of the Pacific Gateway Center where she leads programs that help refugees, the destitute and victims of human trafficking where many of the victims are young girls and women. Although her work often places her in at risk situations, she continues to help locals as well as immigrants from the Pacific and Asia with social and economic adjustment needs.

4. Beadie Kanahele Dawson         Hawaii

Community Leadership. Community activist, attorney, business woman and entrepreneur who stood bold and resolute in the protection of a legacy of promise by Ke Alii Pauahi Bishop for Native Hawaiians, her knowledge, wisdom and Aloha secured the legacy for her people for generations to come. She leaves behind a legacy of courage, cultural stewardship and economic development initiatives that seek balance between traditional wisdom and modern knowledge.

5. Vaimasenu’u Zita Martel           Samoa

Courage Leadership. Mother, diplomat, traditional leader and fautasi long boat skipper, successful business woman and entrepreneur. Overcame tremendous challenges and shattered the gender barrier by entering a traditional, men’s only long boat race as the first women ever to do so, and winning the 50th anniversary celebration fautasi race of her country. Her acceptance of victory with traditional respect, humility and salutations to the chiefs and spiritual leaders of her country endeared her as a standard of excellence for the youth of her developing island nation.

6.  Susan O’Connor               Montana

Spiritual leadership. Social and global activist for world peace and harmony. Facilitated national and international gatherings in Hawai‘i, established programs to support the social, economic and spiritual needs for native Hawaiians in Hana and built a retreat area as a portal for peace and harmony with Aloha and Hawaiian values at the core to all who seek a peaceful place for reflection, balance and harmony in life.

7. Dr. Takiora Ingram                       Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Regional leadership. Regional environmental leader, Coordinator of the Pacific Regional Ocean Partnership, promoting health and stewardship of the Pacific Ocean’s resources,  and former Executive Director of the All Islands Coral Reef Committee Secretariat based in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.  Provides effective leadership and coordination of the U.S. Pacific Islands and the Federal government to sustainably manage ocean resources and promote stewardship of the Pacific Ocean.

8.  Angela Williams             Virginia

Empowering Leadership. Retired U.S. Department of the Interior senior policy analyst who established the Pacific Business Center Program and a high impact internship program that has made significant contributions to local capacity building, and economic and small business development throughout the U.S. Territories, particularly Micronesia.  Graduates are serving in leadership positions throughout the U.S. Territories in the Pacific as vital building blocks for developing U.S. island Territories in the region.

General tickets for the event are $75.00. Students are $50.00. Sponsored tables: Kalo tables of 10 are $750.00; Niu tables of 10 are $1,500.00; and Ulu tables of 10 are $2,500.00.  Sponsored tables and seats that are donated will be extended to women of Hawai‘i who could not attend otherwise or as designated.  Checks should be made out to the University of Hawaii Foundation and reference “Stars of Oceania” and mailed with the registration form to Stars of Oceania, c/o UH Pacific Business Center Program, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Shidler College of Business, 2404 Maile Way, A413, Honolulu, HI 96822

For more information about the 2013 Stars of Oceania Dinner visit http://pbcphawaii.com or contact the Pacific Business Center Program at the University of Hawaii at (808) 956-6286 for Dr. Tusi Avegalio (fa@hawaii.edu), Renata Matcheva (matcheva@hawaii.edu) or Michelle Clark (mlc@hawaii.edu).

“The Planning Committee composed of Cha Thompson, Leslie Wilcox, Crissy Gayagas, Wendy Loh, Jensin Sommer, Ramsay Taum and Renata Matcheva have been hard at work,” said Avegalio. “As I reflect on the Year of the Women 2013 Stars of Oceania and efforts towards making it happen, I’m reminded of a quote by Margaret Mead, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’”

 

Governor Abercrombie Appoints Jeffrey Portnoy to UH Board of Regents

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the appointment of Jeffrey Portnoy to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. He assumes one of the board’s Honolulu seats, an interim position until confirmed by the state Senate.

Jeffrey Portnoy

Jeffrey Portnoy

“Jeff is a champion of the University of Hawaii and a respected leader in our community,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “He has always been a great friend to the university community, and his leadership, insight and expertise within and beyond his field will prove a valuable asset to the UH system.”

A member of State Bar of Hawaii since 1972, Portnoy has worked with Cades Schutte LLP since 1972; as a partner since 1979. A speaker, teacher and author, his practice specialties include media, insurance, employment and product liability law; personal injury defense; attorney and physician malpractice; and securities litigation and arbitration.

His prior involvement with the University of Hawaii includes serving as community representative on the UH Athletic Advisory Board for two 3-year terms (1996 to 2002) and as a UH adjunct professor in media law from 1985 to 1992.

Portnoy was president of the Hawaii State Bar Association in 2007 and director from 1989 to 1993. He was a member of the Ninth Circuit Advisory Board from 2005 to 2008, chairman of the U.S. District Court Advisory Committee from 1992 to 1996, State Chairman of the Defense Research Institute from 1989 to 1998, and president of the Hawaii Defense Lawyers Association from 1989 to 1995. In addition, he served as Lawyers Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference for two 3-year terms, is a past member of the Media Defense Resource Council, and is former editor-in-chief of The Hawaii Labor Letter.

Portnoy is an active member of the community outside the legal profession and is currently the president of Manoa Valley Theatre. He served as president of the Hawaii International Film Festival from 1994 to 2005, chairperson of the Honolulu Neighborhood Commission from 1984 to 1988, and chair of the Honolulu Community Media Council from 2001 to 2002.

His awards and honors include the Society of Professional Journalists’ First Amendment Award (1995) and the SPJ Hawaii Chapter’s Freedom of the Press Award (1983). He was also selected by his peers for Best Lawyers in American and listed in Chambers USA America’s Leading Business Lawyers and Hawaii Super Lawyers.

Portnoy earned his bachelor’s degree in political science, with a minor in journalist, from Syracuse University (Cum Laude) and juris doctor degree from Duke University School of Law.

He is a resident of Honolulu.

 

Governor Releases $83.9 Million for University of Hawaii Campuses

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of $83.9 million for capital improvement projects at University of Hawaii campuses systemwide.

Mayor Kenoi and Gov. Abercrombie at the Palamanui Campus Groundbreaking

Mayor Kenoi and Gov. Abercrombie at the Palamanui Campus Groundbreaking

“These priority projects are investments in the state’s economy and vitality. They address needed maintenance and repair work and create jobs, while expanding affordable, academic opportunities for residents,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “This is especially the case for the new UH Palamanui campus, which will serve as an anchor in the community and increase access to higher education opportunities in West Hawaii.”

Allotment of funds for the following projects were identified by members of the state Legislature and approved by the Governor:

  • $50,000,000 — Systemwide Capital Renewal and Deferred Maintenance — Planning, design and construction for repair and maintenance projects at UH Manoa ($37,606,000), UH Hilo ($1,938,000), UH West Oahu ($41,000), UH Community Colleges ($10,164,000) and other projects systemwide ($251,000)
  • $28,000,000 — Systemwide Health, Safety and Code Requirements — Design and construction for health and safety projects at UH Manoa ($5,085,000), UH Hilo ($9,400,000), and UH Community Colleges ($13,515,000); projects include structural repairs, lighting, traffic safety, electrical system upgrades, and other safety and code requirements
  • $3,500,000 — University of Hawaii West Oahu — Design and construction for Road B connection to Kualakai Parkway, a second entry/exit to the campus; it will consist of a paved, landscaped four-lane roadway and provide access to water, sewer and drainage systems (Road A, which has been completed, connects to Farrington Highway and serves as the main entrance to the campus)
  • $2,400,000 — University of Hawaii Palamanui Campus, Phase I, Hawaii Island — Construction to complete Phase I of the Palamanui campus in West Hawaii; funds will be used to complete the simultaneous construction of Phases 1A (Culinary Arts Building) and 1B (Health Science and Student Services Building)
UH Palamanaui Campus Rendering

UH Palamanui Campus Rendering

University of Hawaii Search for President Narrowed Down to Three Finalist

The University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents Presidential Selection Committee decided to invite three finalist executive search firms to make in-person presentations to the committee before making a final selection in the search for a new university president. The committee narrowed the field to three candidate firms from the submissions sent in response to the Invitation to Submit Proposals issued on October 4, 2013, at its meeting on October 29 at Bachman Hall at 10 a.m. The three firms will be invited to make presentations to the committee within the next two weeks if possible, and the committee will make a final selection of a firm to assist and advise in the presidential search after interviewing the firms’ representatives.

UH Logo

“The Presidential Selection Committee concluded that further discussion was required with the finalists we identified, and that that discussion should occur in person,” said Selection Committee Chair Regent Carl Carlson. “We’ve asked the firms to show their commitment to the process and belief in their own excellence by coming to present to us at their own expense here in Hawaiʻi. We will make a final decision as soon as possible after these presentations have taken place.”

The finalist firms will not be publicly identified, nor will their names be disclosed to the other finalists, so as to maintain confidentiality and to protect the proprietary nature of the firms’ strategies, concepts, database strength and expertise. “We’re obviously looking for the very best in the next president, and therefore need a firm that understands the unique qualities of Hawaiʻi while providing a high caliber of service. Competitiveness in pricing and a proven track record are also critical components that we are taking into consideration,” said Carlson.

The committee will be responsible for negotiating the best price for services with the firm, in keeping with good stewardship of public funds practices, and will make public the selected firm’s name and fee for services after an agreement has been reached.

The committee also continues its community outreach activities, appearing before local groups and organizations and soliciting feedback on what type of individual is desired and what skill set should be required in the next university president. The committee has met with close to 15 community groups in September and October, and has another 15 to 20 listening dates scheduled in November and beyond. A complete listing by date of upcoming appearances and ways to contact the committee to invite them to appear before other groups can be found at the committee’s website or by clicking the “Presidential Search” button on the University of Hawaiʻi home page.

Milestone for Hawaiiʻs First Space Launch Completed In New Mexico

The 135-ft. rail launcher to be used in Hawai‘i’s first space launch, known as ORS-4, was unveiled today at the National Technical Systems (NTS) facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico. NTS and Western Fabrication built the rail launcher In addition, a full-sized model of the Super Strypi rocket that will be used in the Hawai‘i launch was unveiled.

The rail launcher to be used in Hawai‘i's first space launch is unveiled in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Attached to the rail launcher is a scale model of the Super Strypi rocket that will carry a satellite constructed by University of Hawai‘i faculty and students. The launcher will be disassembled and transported to the 2014 launch site at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kaua‘i. Photo credit: Sandia National Laboratories.

The rail launcher to be used in Hawai‘i’s first space launch is unveiled in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Attached to the rail launcher is a scale model of the Super Strypi rocket that will carry a satellite constructed by University of Hawai‘i faculty and students. The launcher will be disassembled and transported to the 2014 launch site at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kaua‘i. Photo credit: Sandia National Laboratories.

The mission manager for the launch is the Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office.  The Open House event was hosted by ORS and project partners Sandia National Laboratories, the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kaua‘i, Aerojet Rocketdyne Corp., and the University of Hawai‘i’s Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL).  The launch is currently planned for spring 2014.

The ORS-4 mission is sponsored by the ORS Office and is the first launch of the Super Strypi launch system.This mission will demonstrate a new, low-cost launch capability able to deliver 300 kilograms to Low-Earth Orbit.  This is the first orbital launch from the Pacific Missile Range Facility and will carry the University of Hawai‘i’s hyperspectral imager as the primary payload, along with 12 cubesats in an integrated payload stack.  This demonstration will enable low-cost launch alternatives and range processes for the future.

When the Super Strypi rocket takes flight from the U.S. Navy’s PMRF on Kaua‘i, it will be carrying a satellite designed and built by University of Hawai‘i faculty and students.  UH will have also played a significant role in getting the satellite into space.  With this mission, UH has become one of the only universities in the world to have both satellite fabrication capabilities and direct access to orbital space.  Interim President David Lassner said, “The University of Hawai‘i is pleased to support the State in becoming a low-cost gateway to space and to provide our students with real-world experience that will be invaluable as we train Hawai‘iʻs aerospace workforce.”

Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory Director Luke Flynn with a model of the launcher and Super Strypi launch vehicle.

Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory Director Luke Flynn with a model of the launcher and Super Strypi launch vehicle.

HSFL is responsible for payload development, and project management of the rail launcher and launch pad. The University of Hawai‘i’s faculty and students are building the primary payload called HiakaSat.  “Hiaka” means “to recite legends or fabulous stories” in Hawaiian.  It is also an acronym for Hyperspectral Imaging, Aeronautical Kinematic Analysis.  The 110-lb. satellite is being designed to do a number of things including performing thermal hyperspectral imaging.

HSFL was established in 2007 within the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) and the College of Engineering.  As a multidisciplinary research and education center, HSFL brings together individuals from diverse areas and other UH campuses to work on the exploration and understanding of the space environment.  Kaua‘i Community College will be the primary communications link for the satellite.  Honolulu Community College is designing one of the satellite payloads and will operate a receiving station during the mission.  Windward Community College and UH Hilo are also involved.

Lassner said, “The Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory has brought in more than $35 million in government funding for this project and is partnering with top tier aerospace companies for our State’s first space launch.  It is a great example of the critical role UH plays in the Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative to build the research sector and to create exciting jobs for future generations.”

HSFL Director Luke Flynn says the university would like to be able to launch small satellites on a regular basis, which will attract companies that are looking for affordable ways to test space technology.  HSFL is looking for partners willing to invest in this endeavor.

The launch rail system will now be disassembled and moved to the PMRF site on the island of Kaua‘i, where it will be reassembled for the 2014 launch.

 

Is University of Hawaii’s Assistant Basketball Coach Dating Clint Eastwood’s Ex-Wife?

Sources say University of Hawaii Assistant Basketball Coach Scott Fisher, 50, has rekindled a high-school romance with former TV news anchor Dina Eastwood, Clint Eastwood’s second wife.

Scott Fisher's twitter page

Scott Fisher’s twitter page

“Dina is in love with Scott,” a source told The National Enquirer. “It’s like high school all over again.”

Both Fisher and Dina grew up in Fremont, California. They both attended Mission San Jose High School in Fremont.

On Twitter, Fisher follows only 92 people. Among them are Dina, her daughter Morgan and stepdaughter Francesca Fisher-Eastwood.

Fisher Follows

This week, Dina, 48, announced to Us Weekly that she and Eastwood, 83, had separated after living apart “for some time”, but said they remained “close”.

The couple, who were married for 17 years, are believed to have broken up in June 2012, a source said.

“Clint fell out of love with Dina a long time ago,” the insider told Us Weekly, noting that the separation was “amicable”.

Fisher, who is now an assistant coach at the University of Hawaii, has landed himself in the headlines amid speculation he is the new love in Dina’s life.

There has been no official statement about the alleged new relationship.

Full story here:  FORMER Perth Wildcats coach and player Scott Fisher has been caught up in the high-profile split of Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood and wife Dina.

Pālamanui the Planned Kona Campus of Hawaiʻi Community College Has Groundbreaking Ceremony

Pālamanui, the planned Kona campus of Hawaiʻi Community College, has taken a giant step towards becoming a reality. A kīpaepae ʻeli honua, or groundbreaking ceremony for the new campus, was held in May 2013. Welcome news considering Pālamanui was first conceived of more than two decades ago, and had been in the planning stages since 2004.

Palamanui Ground Breaking

“We are graduating from planning to doing,” said University of Hawaiʻi System President M.R.C. Greenwood. “And that is a very important beginning.”

West Hawaiʻi is the only major geographic region and population center in Hawaiʻi without a permanent higher education facility. That will change in 2015 when the first phase of Pālamanui is scheduled for completion.

“The community colleges open the doors for our kamaliʻi, our children, for haumana, our students to dream,” said Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi.

Palamanui Blessing

The state-of-the-art, energy-independent campus is expected to serve as a model for other state projects.

The $25 million first phase includes a structure with 24,000 square feet of classrooms, science labs, learning kitchens, library, learning commons area and a large photovoltaic system.

It fits in perfectly with Hawaiʻi Community College’s mission of E ʻImi Pono, or seeking excellence.

“It is the same spirit that will guide us into the future and the endless possibilities this new campus will provide,” said Noreen Yamane, chancellor of Hawaiʻi Community College.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/MrwgwKMec18]

The groundbreaking ceremony prepared the land in a traditional Hawaiian way, and included Hānai ʻAwa, feeding ʻawa to the land; Kanu Iʻa, burying fish; Kanu Lāʻau, planting Lāʻau; and hula, with a mele or song for the spirit of the land, ocean and sky.

Then with ōʻō, or digging sticks, in hand; state, county and UH dignitaries dug into the earth, marking the start of the creation of a new home.

Palamanui Digging Stick

“We pledge all that we have, all that we are, to Hawaiʻi’s and its future,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie. “Pālamanui, is the future of Hawaiʻi.”

Governor Abercrombie Announces UH Board of Regents Nominations

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the nominations of Eugene Bal III, Barry T. Mizuno, and Randolph A. Moore to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. The nominations are subject to state Senate confirmation.

abercrombieheader
Bal and Mizuno’s terms for the Maui and Hawaii County seats, respectively, are effective July 1, 2013. Moore begins his term immediately upon confirmation by a full Senate vote. He will complete the term of At-Large Regent Michael Dahilig, who resigned before his term ends on July 1, 2013. Moore will then begin a new term on July 1, 2013.

“These nominees have exceptionally strong leadership qualities and the experience and expertise to guide the University of Hawaii System to its full potential,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “As a UH alumnus, I understand the critical role the university plays in our state economy and the opportunity it provides for students and researchers. These appointees are fully committed to resolving the governance challenges currently at issue. They know the UH System needs and deserves our support.”

The Governor’s nominees were selected from a list of nominations provided to the Governor by the Regents Candidate Advisory Council.

Maui County Nominee
Eugene Bal III retired as a U.S. Navy captain after 25 years of service, which included a decade of combat flying and time as a chief engineer for the development and acquisition of avionic systems. He has served as the executive director of the Maui High Performance Computing Center for the past 16 years of its 19-year history. Combined with his naval career, he has more than 40 years of experience in leadership roles, managing all aspects of complex scientific, technical and engineering programs.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Bal earned a Master of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. He is also a graduate of the Defense Systems Management College and the Advance Executive Program at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Hawaii County Nominee
Barry T. Mizuno has been a leader in the geothermal power business for 20 years. As onsite manager for the Puna Geothermal Venture, he oversaw the project at its infancy from 1992 to 2006. Mizuno retired in 2006 to form BTM LLC, a private energy consulting firm before retiring in 2012.

Mizuno has also served in positions within Hawaii County across two administrations, including finance director and managing director. A certified public accounted, he has resided on the Big Island since 1983 when he became the chief financial officer, treasurer and controller of Hamakua Sugar Company, Inc. He currently serves on the UH Board of Regents as chair of the Planning and Facilities Committee, vice-chair of the Committee on University Audits, and member of the Committees on Community Colleges and Budget and Finance.

Mizuno earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration/accounting from Central Washington University in Ellensburg.

At-Large Nominee
Randolph G. Moore is a retired business executive, middle school teacher and Department of Education administrator.

After two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, Moore returned to Hawaii to begin a 35-year business career. Retiring from Kaneohe Ranch, he went on to teach at Central Middle School in Honolulu and assisted in the implementation of the 2004 Legislature’s “Reinventing Education” act. Before retiring, he served at the state Department of Education as assistant superintendent for the Office of School Facilities and Support Services.

Moore earned two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and often conducts musicology lectures at the University.

In accordance with the State of Hawaii Constitution, the UH Board of Regents have the power to formulate policy and exercise internal organization and management of the university through its executive officer, the president of the university. Consisting of 15 members, the UH Board of Regents includes at least one member who is a UH student (currently Jeffrey Acido) at the time of his or her initial appointment. At least 12 non-student members represent specific geographic areas in the state, with two from Hawaii County, two from Maui County, one from Kauai County, and seven from the City and County of Honolulu.

Toga Party at University of Hawaii Stan Sheriff Center

Toga

University of Hawaii Basketball team presents Olympic Toga Night on Thursday Evening, February 28, 2013

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University of Hawaii Warriors to Wear New Uniforms to Help Wounded Warrior Project

When the University of Hawaii football team plays UNLV coming up on November 24th, they will be wearing a special uniform that is meant to help the “Wounded Warrior Project“.

Many college teams across the country have been changing their uniforms for a game to support this project.  This weekend, Boston College is changing their uniforms.

So what do you think of the uniforms?

Five Reasons Why USC May Lose to the University of Hawaii in the Season Opener This Weekend

Many folks have ruled out the fact that UH could actually beat #1 ranked USC this weekend.

Here are my top 5 reasons why UH could beat USC this weekend:

  • #5 University of Hawaii is named after a warrior and not a condom
  • #4 USC Players will be too busy looking to get “leid” by UH fans traveling to California.
  • #3 Vili the Warrior Mascot won’t be around to embarrass the team
  • #2 Colt Brennan or his girlfriend won’t be driving the team bus
  • #1 Stevie Wonder has committed to play a concert at Stan Sheriff if University of Hawaii wins.

University of Hawaii Awarded $6 Million Dollar Grant – Agriculture and Energy Departments Announce New Investments to Drive Innovations in Biofuels and Biobased Products

As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to enhance U.S. energy security, reduce America’s reliance on imported oil and leverage our domestic energy supply, while also supporting rural economies, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Energy today announced a $41 million investment in 13 projects that will drive more efficient biofuels production and feedstock improvements.

“If we want to develop affordable alternatives for oil and gasoline that will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we need investments like these projects to spur innovation in bioenergy,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “By producing energy more efficiently and sustainably, we can create rural jobs, boost rural economies and help U.S. farmers, ranchers and foresters prosper.”

“As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above strategy to deploy every available source of American energy, we continue to strive for more efficient, cost-competitive technologies to produce U.S. energy,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The investments announced today are helping to accelerate innovation across America’s growing biofuels industry, which will help to reduce our dependence on imported oil and support job creation across rural America.”

New Biomass Research and Development Initiative Investments

Through the joint Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI), USDA and the Energy Department are working to develop economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass and increase the availability of renewable fuels and biobased products. The five projects announced today will help to diversify the nation’s energy portfolio and replace the need for gasoline and diesel in vehicles.

The cost-shared projects include:

  • Quad County Corn Cooperative ($4.25 million – Galva, Iowa). This project will retrofit an existing corn starch ethanol plant to add value to its byproducts, which will be marketed to the non-ruminant feed markets and to the biodiesel industry. This project enables creation of diverse product streams from this facility, opening new markets for the cooperative and contributing to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s goals for cellulosic ethanol production and use.
  • Agricultural Research Service’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research ($7 million – Peoria, Illinois). This project will optimize rapeseed/canola, mustard and camelina oilseed crops for oil quality and yield using recombinant inbred lines. Remote sensing and crop modeling will enhance production strategies to incorporate these crops into existing agricultural systems across four ecoregions in the Western United States. The oils will be hydrotreated to produce diesel and jet fuel.
  • Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. ($6.85 million – Findlay, Ohio). Guayule is a hardwood perennial natural rubber-producing shrub grown in the semi-arid southwestern United States. This project will optimize production and quality of guayule rubber using genomic sequencing and development of molecular markers. The extracted rubber will be used in tire formulations, and the remaining plant residue will be evaluated for use in biopower and for conversion to jet fuel precursors.
  • University of Wisconsin ($7 million – Madison, Wisconsin).This project will utilize dairy manure as a source of fiber and fertilizer. Fiber will be converted to ethanol, manure used for fertilizer, and oil from the crops will be converted to biodiesel used in farm equipment. The project goal is to develop closed-loop systems with new product streams that benefit the environment.
  • University of Hawaii ($6 million – Manoa, Hawaii). This project will optimize the production of grasses in Hawaii, including napier grass, energycane, sugarcane and sweet sorghum. Harvest and preprocessing will be optimized to be compatible with the biochemical conversion to jet fuel and diesel.

Additional information on the Biomass Development and Research Initiative is available HERE.

Leveraging Genomics for More Efficient, Cost-Effective Bioenergy

Today, the Energy Department and USDA are also announcing $10 million for eight research projects aimed at applying biomass genomics to improve promising biofuel feedstocks and drive more efficient, cost-effective energy production. These projects will use genetic mapping to advance sustainable biofuels production by analyzing and seeking to maximize genetic traits like feedstock durability, how tolerant feedstocks are to various environmental stresses, and the potential for feedstocks to be used in energy production.

A full list of the projects selected today is available HERE. The projects selected today include:

  • Michigan Technological University ($1.1 million – Houghton, Michigan). This project will analyze genetic traits that affect wood biomass yield and quality in the Populus species, including poplar trees.
  • Iowa State University ($1.4 million – Ames, Iowa). Research will explore the genetic architecture of sorghum biomass yield component traits identified using field-based analysis of the feedstock’s physical and genetic traits.

Since 2006, the Plant Feedstocks Genomics for Bioenergy research program has invested nearly $70 million helping to identify key genes affecting biomass yield and quality in feedstocks and to accelerate breeding efforts to improve bioenergy-relevant traits.

Stormy Saturday, Perfect Sunday for UH in DC

The University of Hawaii contingent worked together on July 1 to pick up the pieces and prepare for the re-opening of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival after a severe thunderstorm shut down the festival on June 30.

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Highly Contagious Honey Bee Virus Transmitted by Mites

Researchers in Hawaii and the UK report that the parasitic ‘Varroa’ mite has caused the Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) to proliferate in honey bee colonies. This association is now thought to contribute to the world-wide spread and probable death of millions of honey bee colonies. The current monetary value of honey bees as commercial pollinators in the United States alone is estimated at about $15-$20 billion annually.

Bees with varroa mite

The research conducted in Hawaii by researchers at Sheffield University, the Marine Biological Association, FERA and University of Hawaii, and reported in the journal Science (8 June 2012), showed how Varroa caused DWV – a known viral pathogen – to increase its frequency among honey bee colonies from 10% to 100%. This change was accompanied by a million-fold increase in the number of virus particles infecting each honey bee and a massive reduction in viral strain diversity leading to the emergence of a single ‘virulent’ DWV strain. As the mite and new virulent strain of virus becomes established across the Hawaiian islands the new emerging viral landscape will mirror that found across the rest of the world where Varroa is now established.

This ability of a mite to permanently alter the honey bee viral landscape may by a key factor in the recent colony collapse disorder (CCD) and over-wintering colony losses (OCL) as the virulent pathogen strain remains even after the mites are removed.

Honey bee populations can experience spectacular crashes. The most recent being the well publicized colony collapse disorder (CCD), but its cause remains a mystery.

Varroa is a large mite (~1.5mm x1mm) that lives on the surface of honeybees, feeding off their blood and reproducing on their developing brood.

The arrival and spread of Varroa across the Hawaiian Islands offered a unique opportunity during 2009 and 2010 to track the evolutionary change in the honey bee virus landscape.

The mite facilitates the spread of viruses by acting as a viral reservoir and incubator, although four bee viruses often associated with CCD (Kashmir bee, Slow paralysis, Acute bee paralysis and Israeli acute paralysis virus) were not influenced by Varroa in Hawaii.

One bee virus, the Deformed Wing Virus (DWV), has been implicated in colony losses, for example over wintering colony losses (OCL), as it appears to become ubiquitous wherever Varroa occurs.

DWV is naturally transmitted between bees via feeding or during mating. However, the mites introduce DWV directly into the bee’s blood while feeding so creating a new viral transmission route that bypasses many of the bees’ natural defensive barriers.

DWV is a tiny virus similar in structure to polio or foot and mouth virus and has only 9 genes.

DWV infected bees may display the classic wing deformity, but the vast majority of infected bees do not show any morphological signs of infection.

The dominant strain found on Oahu and now Big Island is identical to that found in other areas of the world indicating that the situation on Hawaii is a mirror to what has happened right across the globe.

Based on comparisons between the 2009 and 2010 the changes in viral diversity associated with Varroa appear stable and persist even after the parasite levels are reduced via mite treatments.

 

Notice of Class Action Settlement UH Data Breach Lawsuit – Email Sent to Alumni

As many folks know, the University of Hawaii recently had a data breach that could potentially jeopardize thousands of students and alumni credit status.

Yesterday the University sent out the following email to alumni of the institution:

This email is a notification from the University of Hawai’i Alumni Association of a class action settlement.  It is being sent to all UH Alumni whether or not you are a settlement class member.

First Circuit Court Judge Patrick Border has preliminarily approved a Class Action Settlement in Gross v. University of Hawai’i, Hawai’i First Circuit Court Civil No. 11-1-1217-06 PWB.

PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE THE COURT ABOUT THIS CASE.

The Settlement provides free credit monitoring and free identity theft consultation and restoration services for a period of two years for settlement class members, those individuals who may have been affected by any of five possible incidents. The services are provided by Kroll, a nationally recognized firm selected by the University to provide these services.

YOU MUST REGISTER ONLINE TO RECEIVE THESE FREE SERVICES UNLESS YOU ARE DISABLED AND UNABLE TO USE A COMPUTER OR YOU DO NOT HAVE A COMPUTER.

IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO RECEIVE THESE FREE SERVICES YOU NEED TAKE NO FURTHER ACTION.

If you are a settlement class member, you should receive an official paper notification letter via the United States Postal Service that directs you to https://www.idintegrity.com/itm_web/home.jsp.

THIS IS A SECURE WEBSITE OPERATED BY KROLL THAT IS AUTHORIZED TO RECEIVE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION.

The letter contains a unique Membership ID number that is required to register for the services.

In order to obtain the credit monitoring services, you must give Kroll personal information such as your social security number. This is necessary so that they can monitor your credit reports for you.

If you do not receive a notice in the mail by March 1, 2012 and believe you are eligible to receive benefits, please call 1-855-205-6935.

You may also view the Settlement Notice at http://www.hawaii.edu/settlement

Detailed information about the lawsuit and all Class Member rights, including how to object, make an appearance, or opt-out may be found at http://www.UHDataBreachLawsuit.com.

If you have questions about the settlement or related issues you may contact class counsel at info@UHDataBreachLawsuit.com. Class Counsel appointed by the Court are Thomas R. Grande and Bruce F. Sherman.

Unprecedented, Man-Made Trends in Ocean’s Acidity… Hawaiian Islands Will Be First to Feel Impact

Nearly one-third of CO2 emissions due to human activities enters the world’s oceans. By reacting with seawater, CO2 increases the water’s acidity, which may significantly reduce the calcification rate of such marine organisms as corals and mollusks. The extent to which human activities have raised the surface level of acidity, however, has been difficult to detect on regional scales because it varies naturally from one season and one year to the next, and between regions, and direct observations go back only 30 years.

These are yellow tangs frolicking among corals. Credit: Dwayne Meadows, NOAA

Combining computer modeling with observations, an international team of scientists concluded that anthropogenic CO2 emissions over the last 100 to 200 years have already raised ocean acidity far beyond the range of natural variations. The study is published in the January 22 online issue of Nature Climate Change.

The team of climate modelers, marine conservationists, ocean chemists, biologists and ecologists, led by Tobias Friedrich and Axel Timmermann at the International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, came to their conclusions by using Earth system models that simulate climate and ocean conditions 21,000 years back in time, to the Last Glacial Maximum, and forward in time to the end of the 21st century. They studied in their models changes in the saturation level of aragonite (a form of calcium carbonate) typically used to measure of ocean acidification. As acidity of seawater rises, the saturation level of aragonite drops. Their models captured well the current observed seasonal and annual variations in this quantity in several key coral reef regions.

Today’s levels of aragonite saturation in these locations have already dropped five times below the pre-industrial range of natural variability. For example, if the yearly cycle in aragonite saturation varied between 4.7 and 4.8, it varies now between 4.2 and 4.3, which – based on another recent study – may translate into a decrease in overall calcification rates of corals and other aragonite shell-forming organisms by 15%. Given the continued human use of fossil fuels, the saturation levels will drop further, potentially reducing calcification rates of some marine organisms by more than 40% of their pre-industrial values within the next 90 years.

“Any significant drop below the minimum level of aragonite to which the organisms have been exposed to for thousands of years and have successfully adapted will very likely stress them and their associated ecosystems,” says lead author Postdoctoral Fellow Tobias Friedrich.

“In some regions, the man-made rate of change in ocean acidity since the Industrial Revolution is hundred times greater than the natural rate of change between the Last Glacial Maximum and pre-industrial times,” emphasizes Friedrich. “When Earth started to warm 17,000 years ago, terminating the last glacial period, atmospheric CO2 levels rose from 190 parts per million (ppm) to 280 ppm over 6,000 years. Marine ecosystems had ample time to adjust. Now, for a similar rise in CO2 concentration to the present level of 392 ppm, the adjustment time is reduced to only 100 – 200 years.”

On a global scale, coral reefs are currently found in places where open-ocean aragonite saturation reaches levels of 3.5 or higher. Such conditions exist today in about 50% of the ocean – mostly in the tropics. By end of the 21st century this fraction is projected to be less than 5%. The Hawaiian Islands, which sit just on the northern edge of the tropics, will be one of the first to feel the impact.

The upper panels shows simulated surface aragonite saturation for the years 1800, 2012 and 2100, respectively. White dots indicate present-day main coral reef locations. The lower panels shows atmospheric CO2 concentration in parts per million simulated for the years 1750 to 2100. Credit: Tobias Friedrich

The study suggests that some regions, such as the eastern tropical Pacific, will be less stressed than others because greater underlying natural variability of seawater acidity helps to buffer anthropogenic changes. The aragonite saturation in the Caribbean and the western Equatorial Pacific, both biodiversity hotspots, shows very little natural variability, making these regions particularly vulnerable to human-induced ocean acidification.

“Our results suggest that severe reductions are likely to occur in coral reef diversity, structural complexity and resilience by the middle of this century,” says co-author Professor Axel Timmermann.”

University of Hawaii Announces Reusable Water Refill Stations

Sustainable UH is excited to announce that the most advanced reusable water bottle refill station in the world is now available on the UH Mānoa campus.
Refill station benefits over bottled water:

1) Five stage filtration system including a sediment filter, carbon filter, coconut carbon filter, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet light provides the highest quality best tasting water. “Purified” bottled water companies use reverse osmosis as their main filtration system.

2) Chilled to 42 degrees Fahrenheit.
3) 25¢ fills instead of bottles for $1.50.
4) A 25¢ fill a day costs $91.25/year. A $1.50 bottle a day costs $547.50. That’s a savings of $456.25 per year for better water!
5) No more bottled water pollution.
6) No possible plastic leaching of harmful cancer causing BPA.
7) Refill your bottle in just eight seconds and be on your way to class in no time.

Bring your own bottle to UH Mānoa’s brand new refill station outside of Kuykendall Hall on the Campus Center side.

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