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Public Schools Shine During Computer Science Education Week Festivities

Schools across the state joined nationwide celebrations of Computer Science Education with more than 170 events over the past week – from an Hour of Code at Kailua Elementary to a family friendly event hosted by Daniel K. Inouye Elementary that featured coding activities, robot obstacle courses and much more.

Schools across the state joined nationwide celebrations of Computer Science Education.
Photo Credit: Department of Education

“It’s wonderful to see students and teachers get excited about Computer Science education, not just during this Computer Science Education Week but year-round,” said Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “We’ve been working on advancing Computer Science curriculum as part of our Strategic Plan. We look forward to presenting our plans before the Board of Education on implementation across cross-disciplinary fields such as Math, Science, STEM, Advanced Placement and Career and Technical Education.”

In support of the Department’s efforts in developing rigorous K-12 computer science standards, Governor David Ige yesterday added his name along with other governors to the Governors Partnership for K-12 Computer Science.

Computer science (CS) education is tied to the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) Strategic Plan and implementation strategies. Earlier this year, HIDOE’s Office of Curriculum Instruction and Student Support met with the Hawaii State Student Council to get their perspective on a CS education rollout effort.  The CS activities rolled out this week across the state is a reflection of the teacher collaboration taking place as well as raising opportunities for students to voice the importance of digital learning.

“We know that the workforce’s top jobs are in need of kids who are educated in computer science,” said Sarah Milianta-Laffin, seventh grade teacher, Ilima Intermediate. “If we’re going to get to that place, we have to get kids excited about it – we have to be their cheerleaders because we’re teaching them about a world that we haven’t been taught about ourselves.”

Many schools are incorporating courses in coding, which has been well received by students.

“Coding is a superpower,” explained Mitchell Togiai, seventh grader at Ilima Intermediate. “In the world that we live in today where technology is everywhere, it’s really important to learn how to code.”

Capping off CS Week

This evening, Superintendent Kishimoto and members of her leadership team will be attending a close out event – Momilani Elementary’s third annual CS for ALL Night. Due to the popularity of the annual festivity, the event is taking place at neighboring Pearl City High School. It will feature hands on activities connected to concepts in computer science such as computing systems, networks and the Internet, as well as algorithms and programming.

Big Island schools participating were:

  • Chiefess Kapiolani El
  • Honaunau El
  • Honokaa El
  • Kahakai El
  • Kealakehe El
  • Kealakehe High
  • Kealakehe Inter
  • Keaau El
  • Keonepoko El
  • Konawaena El
  • Mt. View El
  • Naalehu El
  • Waikoloa El & Middle
  • Waimea El

Approximately 600 Attend ‘Pearl Harbor Youth Day’

In remembrance of the Pearl Harbor attack 76 years ago, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor once again sponsored Pearl Harbor Youth Day, December 9, from 10 am – 2 pm with free admission for students up to age 18. Approximately 600 attended the event. This year’s theme, “Celebrating the Pearl Harbor Child” focused on those who witnessed the attack as children and lived through the war years in Hawaii.

Visitors heard first-person accounts from former Pearl Harbor children such as Dorinda Makanaonalani Nicholson, award-winning author. The new Mattel American Girl Doll “Nanea Mitchell,” based in part on Ms. Nicholson’s experiences, was featured through a variety of activities that provided insight into the lives of those who were in Hawaii during the 1940s. Two “Nanea” dolls were given away during the day, compliments of American Girl.

Other highlights included a scavenger hunt, swing dancing, the ever popular open cockpits of some of the Museum’s most iconic aircraft, machine shop riveting with “Rosie the Riveter,” lei making, hula lessons, and costumed interpreters representing historic characters.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is located on Historic Ford Island, where bombs fell during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Visitors to the Museum can see remnants from that day of infamy, including the 158-foot tall, red and white iconic Ford Island Control Tower, Hangars 37 and 79, and bullet holes in Hangar 79. Through its preservation and restoration of World War II fighter planes and accompanying artifacts in the Museum’s historic hangars, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor shares the story of the vital role aviation played in the winning of World War II, and its continuing role in maintaining America’s freedom.

Hawaii Public Schools Serve Local Grass-Fed Beef in December

This month, Hawaii public schools are serving locally raised, grass-fed beef in its hamburger patties. Elementary and middle school students will be served teri hamburger steak, while high school students will enjoy teri loco moco lunches.

High school students will enjoy teri loco moco lunches (pictured above), while elementary and middle school students will be served teri hamburger steak.
Photo Credit: Department of Education

This is part of the Hawaii State Department of Education’s (HIDOE) effort to include more fresh local agriculture in student meals. It is made possible through a joint partnership with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, the State Department of Agriculture, the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council and the Hawaii Beef Industry Council.

“This is a great step forward in providing healthy options in our meal program and working with partners to make these opportunities possible,” said Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. “We appreciate the support of the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council and the Hawaii Beef Industry Council. Their partnership allows our students to understand the connection and importance of local agriculture.”

In 2015, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui spearheaded a partnership effort called, “Farm to School” (also known as ‘Aina Pono), with HIDOE, the Department of Agriculture and The Kohala Center to increase local food in school lunches using products from the local community.

The Farm to School Initiative addresses the supply and demand issues surrounding the purchasing of local food for our State school cafeterias. The Initiative also aims to systematically increase state purchasing of local food for our school menus as well as connect our keiki with the ‘āina (land) through their food, using products from the local agricultural community.

“This initiative is a major game-changer in the way we are feeding our kids in schools. Along with changing what our keiki eat, we are serving them food made with local, fresh ingredients,” said Lt. Governor Tsutsui. “This is a win-win for our students because they eat healthier, and for our farmers and ranchers because we are supporting our local agricultural industry.”

Today, the Farm to School Initiative is included under ‘Aina Pono, which HIDOE has now adopted as its own. In addition to school gardens, nutrition, agriculture, health and food education, ‘Aina Pono has expanded to include test kitchens, meal programs, menu planning and efforts to include more fresh local agriculture in student meals.

16-Year-Old Wins Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens Photographers Contest

Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens and Paradise Helicopters extend congratulations to 16-year-old Hilo High School student photographer Jared Goodwin on the selection of his image “Path of Reflections” as the cover image on the 2018 Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens photographers contest calendar.

Path of Reflections photo by Jared Goodwin.

Speaking of photography, Goodwin said, “Beginning at the age of 13, I found a way to capture the love I have for the uniqueness and beauty of our `aina…one frame at a time. Photography is the window to my mind inspired by Madame Pele’s journeys and our beautiful shorelines.”

The grand prize winner’s award of a helicopter tour on Paradise Helicopters with Bruce Omori and Mick Kalber will be presented during the second annual Banyan Drive Art Stroll Saturday, January 13.

“Paradise Helicopters is honored to support Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens who have dedicated so much effort to this worthy cultural and community cause,” said Cal Dorn, president of Paradise Helicopters. “Our employees, many of whom were born and live in Hilo, use and appreciate Lili`uokalani Gardens and what this organization has done to maintain and improve the park. Congratulations to Jared Goodwin on his winning photograph which will grace the cover of the 2018 calendar on this historic centennial anniversary of this treasured park.”

All photographs featured in the 2018 calendar will be on exhibit during the Banyan Drive Art Stroll from noon to 6 p.m.

Copies of the 2018 calendar presently are being printed at Hawaii Printing Corporation and will be for sale at Banyan Gallery, near the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, and on line from Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens.

“Lili’uokalani Gardens are a community treasure. I am excited to see what our artist community will produce this year in honor of its beauty and history,” said gallery owner Jelena Clay.”Banyan Gallery will always support the revitalization efforts of Banyan Drive and the Friends of Lili’uokalani Gardens because they play a major role in the garden upkeep and improvement. “

The 2018 photographers contest was chaired by Vijay Karai, who remarked: “I had the pleasure of curating the Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens second annual calendar. To say merely that I received 111 entries from 24 photographers is limiting in the scope of work. What I saw in those images is limitless talent and artistic expression. Charles Wood did an excellent job at selecting those images to the calendar needs. Thank you photographers for working with the limited time frame.”

The calendar was designed by Ken Goodrich of Hawaii Photo Retreat. “I have a special appreciation for the artistic and technical skills required to create an image that celebrates the beauty of our environment and moves people to protect our natural treasures,” Goodrich said. “Hilo is lucky to be blessed with Lili`uokalani Gardens and each photograph in this calendar reminds us just how lucky we are! Thanks to all the photographer/artists who contributed to the imagery herein.”

The 13-month calendar also features 26 small thumbnail images from Hawaii Island photographers, a message from Mayor Harry Kim, messages from juror Charles Woods and Friends president K.T. Cannon-Eger, short biographies of each featured photographer, and a history page.

For further information, contact Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens through their Facebook page or phone K.T. Cannon-Eger at (808) 895-8130.

Hawaii House of Representatives is Accepting Job Applications

The Hawaii House of Representatives is accepting job applications for the upcoming 2018 legislative session. Working at the Hawaii State Legislature offers individuals an opportunity to experience firsthand what it’s like to work in a dynamic public service organization, work closely with elected officials and the public, and learn more about the legislative process.

Session jobs require a 4-5 month commitment, depending upon the position. Most positions begin on January 2, 2018 and end on the last day of the legislative session.

Employees working 20 hours or more per week are eligible for health insurance including drug, dental and vision coverage.

To apply, email your resume, cover letter including the positions desired to resume@capitol.hawaii.gov. All resumes submitted will be available for review by the individual Representative and Agency Offices.

More information about employment opportunities with the Hawaii State House of Representatives can be found online at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hjobs.aspx.

Tomorrow: Kona Choral Society Youth Choruses – “Let Your Light Shine”

The Kona Choral Society Youth Choruses invites the public to a free concert tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 8th at 5:30 p.m.

Come enjoy the voices of three youth choruses as they present “Let Your Light Shine.”

Children from grades K-12 join together for this festive concert under the direction of Wendy Buzby, Youth Director.

Hale Halawai is located at 75-5760 Alii Drive, Kailua-Kona.

Pacific Paradise Finally Removed From Waikiki Reef

The grounded Pacific Paradise was successfully removed from the reef off Kaimana Beach Thursday.

Following removal from the beach, crews prepare the Pacific Paradise further about a mile offshore from Oahu, Dec. 7, 2017. A combination of salvage and response experts worked over a 58-day period to repair, refloat and remove the vessel from the beach. The cause of the original grounding remains under investigation. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy Todd Duke/Released)

The State of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources will assume the lead as the coordinating agency to work with the owner of the Pacific Paradise to conduct cleanup of the wreck site as the pollution threat has been removed. The state will assess any damage done to the reef and facilitate the next step in mitigating the impacts and rehabilitating the reef.

“This response has been long and challenging, but the professionalism and expertise of the crews that came together was nothing short of impressive”, said Capt. Michael Long, captain of the port and commander U.S. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. We appreciate the patience and support of the public, the diligence and persistence of our partners and are grateful the Pacific Paradise was safely removed.”

Suzanne Case, chair of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, expressed her sincere appreciation to everyone involved for their patience, persistence and care in getting the Pacific Paradise removed from the reef successfully and safely. Case said, “These efforts are complex, and with the addition of unpredictable ocean conditions, the position, size and weight of the ship on the reef, and its proximity to one of Hawaii’s most populated beach areas, it was important that we all worked together to remove the ship while minimizing risk to people and to the environment. DLNR is conducting a full assessment of the reef and any associated natural resource damage that occurred during the event.”

Response crews refloated the Pacific Paradise Wednesday and moved the vessel about 600 feet into the sandy channel before losing the tide. Crews conducted additional work to the vessel late in the day to prepare for the refloat and tow Thursday. That effort was ultimately successful in fully removing the vessel at 7:15 a.m. on the high tide using the tug Pi’ilani.

Just over a mile offshore the tow was switched over to the tug American Contender for the transit out to the EPA-approved disposal site 13 miles south of Oahu in federal waters. The responders are now in the process of sinking the Pacific Paradise in nearly 1,800 feet of water, which may take several hours.

During the operation to refloat and remove the grounded vessel minimal pollution entered the water.
The vessel originally grounded just before midnight Oct. 10. In the time since, local and mainland experts have worked diligently to remove the vessel as quickly and safely as possible with the least amount of impact to the marine environment. Responders spent the past weeks preparing and patching the hull, removing excess weight by pumping water and removing heavy spare parts including sheet metal and the rudder and adding additional buoyancy. The challenging environment and weather did slow or delay some work.

The Coast Guard is continuing the investigation into the cause of the grounding. That process will likely take several months. Once complete those findings will be released to the public and action will be taken to levee any fines or punitive actions that may be deemed appropriate.

Body Found Along Puna Shoreline

Hawaiʻi Island police have opened a Coroner’s Inquest investigation in connection with a body that was found in Puna.

At 3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, patrol officers responded to the Kalapana Gardens area after a hiker discovered a body clad in a gray T-shirt and green shorts in a remote location along the coastline.

Detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigation Section responded to the scene, but because of the body’s advanced state of decomposition, neither the age, gender or identity of the victim could be immediately determined.

Due to darkness and limited accessibility to the area, police secured the scene until the next morning.

The following morning, Wednesday, Dec. 6, detectives returned to the scene, which had been held by patrol officers. With the assistance of the Hawai‘i County Fire Department’s helicopter, the body was airlifted out of the area and taken to the Hilo Medical Center, where the official pronouncement of death was made at 12:30 p.m.

An autopsy has been requested to determine the exact cause of death. This is currently classified as an unattended death.

Anyone who may have saw someone with this clothing description in the area or have any other information about this incident is asked to call the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Wendall Carter of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2383 or Wendall.Carter@hawaiicounty.gov.

Six Hawai‘i Students Receive Culinary Scholarships

The American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Association awarded six $2,000 scholarships Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, at the Christmas with the Chefs gala on the grounds of Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel on Hawai‘i Island.

Pictured with their American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Association scholarship envelopes are (L–R): Thomas Elarco, Daine Lagpacan, Taylor Neufeld, Jenna Shiroma, Brittney Badua and Lily Fraiser. Courtesy photo.

Recipients are all local culinary students attending Hawai‘i Community College–Palamanui who volunteered at the event. In addition, HCC–West Hawai‘i graduates were involved in four of the 18 culinary stations:

  • Ashley Danao at Daylight Mind Coffee Company and Café
  • Darcy Ambrosio of A-Bays Island Grill
  • Kevin Castillo of Lava Bowls
  • George Gomes of the Sheraton Kona.
  • In addition, grad Patti Kimball, of Kimball Catering, served as culinary station organizer.

In its 29th year, the annual fundraiser benefits culinary students attending HCC–Palamanui and members of the Kona Kohala Chefs Association wanting to further their education.

Event proceeds and sponsors funded the scholarships. These scholarships aid students completing their two-year AAS culinary degree while preparing them for gainful employment in the workforce.

Mark your calendar for next year’s 30th anniversary benefit on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.

About American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Association

ACF is the largest, professional, nonprofit organization for chefs and cooks in the nation. Founded in 1980, the Kona Kohala chapter is comprised of food service professionals, vendors, growers and culinary enthusiasts. Members are local industry leaders committed to culinary enrichment through professional development and education in our community.

HPD Searching for 16-Year-Old Captain Cook Boy

The Hawaiʻi Island Police Department is searching for a 16-year-old Captain Cook boy who was reported missing.

Jonathan Ruiz-Valdovinos

Jonathan Ruiz-Valdovinos was last seen in Captain Cook on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017.

He is described as Hispanic, five foot 10 inches, 150 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.

Apparent Drowning at Makalawena Beach

Rescue  Company 7 of the Kailua-Kona station, Chopper 2 of the South Kohala station and Battalion Chief 2 of the Waikoloa Fire station responded to a report of the swimmers in distress at Makalawena Beach on Dec. 5, 2017, at 3 p.m.

Initial reports said three swimmers were in distress and that one person in the party could not swim.

At 3:21 p.m., the Hawai‘i Fire Department’s Chopper 2 was the first to arrive on the scene. Chopper 2 shuttled rescue personnel of company 7 from a landing zone at Mahaiula to the shoreline to assist.

As the incident progressed, fire dispatch determined all parties were on shore. Bystanders were performing CPR on the drowning victim.

Onboard medical crew then initiated advanced life support protocol in an attempt to revive an apparent drowning victim.

A second party with non-life threatening injuries was also extricated via Chopper 2 to awaiting ground unit Medic 7 for treatment and transport to  Kona Hospital.

The drowning victim, a male approximately 20 years of age, did not survive after extensive efforts to revive him and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The identity of the victims is not known at this time.

Hawai‘i Island Film Office Workshop: Want to Work in TV?

Ever wonder what it would be like to work on the set and behind the scenes of a major motion picture, television show or music video? Now you can spend the day with an entertainment industry professional who has for over 30 years.

On Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, Hawai‘i-based Stani Franklin will lead a full-day workshop on the roles and responsibilities of a set production assistant (PA) and surviving below the line for island residents interested in working in feature film or television.

The workshop will be held at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, with registration starting at 8:30 a.m. The workshop is designed for those with some experience in production who are strongly motivated to pursue entry level work in motion pictures or for those with more experience who want to “brush up” on their skills.

Franklin attended the University of New Mexico and graduated with an emphasis in media, broadcasting and theater in 1997. She has been working in film and television ever since, with multiple credits on a variety of shows in all genres and in almost all below the line production capacities including production assistant, production coordinator, set production assistant, extras casting, art department assistant, assistant location manager, craft services and more.

Specific shows have included Hawai‘i Five O, #Reality High, Masters of Sex 4, 17th Annual WIN Awards, Wheel of Fortune, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and many more.

The workshop will cover all the essential aspects of set PA duties and responsibilities including finding a job, proper set operations and etiquette, problem solving and communications, gear and equipment, paperwork, survival tips, and what to expect on that first day of work.

MTV is currently filming at Waterfalling Estate.

Hawai‘i is seeing a surge in professional productions.

Several game and reality dating shows have been on island, including MTV, which is producing here for two months shooting B roll and background for a dating show.

Two feature films shot shot on Hawai’i Island in 2016 including Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson headlining in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Jo the Medicine RunnerMan, a feature-length drama starring Jim Caviezel and Matt Damon.

These productions and others needed set PAs and looked to the talent pool here on Hawai‘i Island to fill some of these positions. So, if you have an interest in pursuing career opportunities in the motion picture field or want to upgrade your skills, this workshop is for you.

The registration fee for students is $15; non-students, $20. A light breakfast and lunch are included in the registration fee. Call (520) 345-8809 or email johnmasonkona@gmail.com with questions or to register. Space is limited.

This program is sponsored by the Hawai‘i Island Film Office, Department of Research and Development, County of Hawai‘i. It is the first in a series of film production workshops planned for 2018 as part of the film office’s Visiting Artists Program, an initiative to provide training and workforce development in the areas of film and media production to island residents. On Saturday, March 3, 2018, a second workshop in the areas of acting and producing will be held, and on Sunday, May 27, 2018, a third workshop will be offered in screenwriting for film and television.

Hawai‘i Electric Working to Restore Power

Hawai‘i Electric Light (HELCO) crews are working to safely restore power to customers who have lost electricity as a result of windy conditions affecting Hawai‘i Island Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. The windy conditions caused trees to fall into power lines and break lines.

Crews work to restore power. Photo courtesy HELCO.

“All available crews are responding to reports of downed power lines, trees on the lines and related issues due to the wind experienced on Hawai‘i Island on Tuesday,” said HELCO Spokesperson Rhea Lee-Moku. “Customers in multiple locations are impacted, our first priority is safety for our customers and our employees. We know what a hardship it is for our customers to be out of power. We sincerely apologize and want to assure them we are doing everything we can to safely restore service as quickly as possible.”

As power restoration efforts continue on Hawai‘i Island, HELCO would like to remind customers of important safety information:

  • Treat downed power lines as energized and dangerous.
  • Do not handle or move any fallen or damaged utility equipment.
  • Do not approach any downed power lines, as they may have electricity running through them and can be dangerous. If you see someone injured by a downed power line, do not approach them and call 9-1-1 for assistance.
  • Use generators outdoors and away from flammable materials. Generators connected directly to your home may feed excess electricity back into power lines, creating a public safety hazard. Plug appliances directly into your generator using extension cords.
  • Unplug unnecessary and sensitive electronic equipment. Use high-quality surge suppressors for electric appliances that remain plugged in.
  • Use batteries to power flashlights and lanterns. Do not use candles or other flammable fuel sources, as they are fire hazards.
  • Be aware of trees and utility poles that were weakened by storm winds and have the potential for falling.
  • Anyone who is without power and who is dependent on electric-powered life support medical equipment should make arrangements to go to an alternate location with power. They should bring their medical equipment and medications with them. They should also stay in contact with their medical equipment supplier for any special equipment needs.

If the service line directly to your home is down, call HELCO at (808) 969-6666.

DOE & Partners Aim to Promote Oral Health

The Hawai‘i Dental Association (HDA) and the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) are renewing their commitment to educating kids about the importance of dental hygiene. The agencies have continued their Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to promote oral health by teaching students proper dental hygiene techniques and providing information about access to free dental health services.

HDA will conduct informational presentations in HIDOE first and second grade classes on O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island through December 2017 and again from January through February 2018, which is National Children’s Dental Health Month.

“Our goal with establishing healthcare partnerships, like this one with the Hawai‘i Dental Association, is to provide access to health services for our students so they can show up to school healthy, engaged and ready to learn,” said Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “Mahalo to everyone involved in this partnership—from the dentists to our teachers—it is an important step to ensuring our students are getting proper oral healthcare.”

These efforts are also part of a national initiative from the American Dental Association to bring preventative education and dental services to underserved children, which includes 92,000 economically disadvantaged public school students in Hawai‘i.

“During the first year of this partnership, we had 10 dentists educate more than 700 students,” added Hawai‘i Public Policy Advocate President Melissa Pavlicek. “We look forward to continuing the success of this partnership and expanding outreach even further this year. We encourage schools and teachers that are interested to contact Danny Cup Choy at (808) 447-1840.”

This partnership highlights the work that has been done by the department to ensure that all students come to school healthy and ready to learn.

Other healthcare partners include the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, which launched the “Hawai‘i Keiki” program with the department in 2014 and has increased school-based health services.

Two Females Rescued from Honokane Nui Valley

The Hawai‘i Fire Department rescued two females from Honokane Nui Valley on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2017.

Five hikers were in the valley when two female hikers were separated and stranded by rising waters in the valley.

Three hikers, one female and two males, continued to Pololu Lookout and initiated a 911 emergency call at 1:23 a.m.

Fire company 15 responded to reporting parties location at 1:50 a.m.

It was determined the stranded hikers were safe and advised to remain in place until help arrived.

Hawai‘i Fire Department Chopper One responded at first light and was able to locate and safely extract the two stranded hikers to the landing zone established at Pololu Lookout.

Neither party was injured or required emergency medical service treatment.

Hawai‘i: ‘Sanctuary Funding Cuts Illegal’

Attorney General Doug Chin has joined a friend-of-the-court brief, filed by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine and signed by attorneys general from nine other states, in a California challenge to the Trump Administration’s efforts to cut off federal public safety grants to so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions.

The brief was filed Nov. 29, 2017, in California v. Sessions in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program funds important public safety initiatives in states and cities around the country. DOJ has threatened to withhold these grants from 38 jurisdictions in an attempt to pressure them to enforce federal immigration law. The multistate brief argues that these threats unlawfully interfere with local jurisdictions’ prerogative “to enact and implement policies that promote public safety, prevent crime, and facilitate positive and productive interactions between local law enforcement and all of their residents, regardless of immigration status.”

Attorney General Chin said, “Federal grants to our state and local law enforcement partners have always been—until now—free of politics. We will not sit by while this administration jeopardizes public safety by trying to score political points through its attacks on immigrants.”

In the state’s most recent annual Uniform Crime Report released on Aug. 31, 2017, the overall 2016 crime rate in Hawai‘i was 3,206 offenses per 100,000 population, the lowest on record since statewide record collection began in 1975.

The amicus brief argues that state and local law enforcement agencies are in the best position to assess how to conduct police work in their communities. No matter what a state or local jurisdiction decides—whether to communicate or cooperate with federal immigration officials or not—it should be the state or local jurisdiction that determines those policies. They are the ones that know their communities’ needs and how best to address them.

Attorney General Racine led the brief’s drafting. In addition to Attorney General Chin, the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Washington state signed on to the brief.

Residents Quack Over New Tour Operation

Big Island Duck Boat. PC: http://bigislandduck.com/

Big Island Duck Adventures, which had been operating tours out of the west side of the island, has been spotted taking tourists on the streets of Hilo and operating in Hilo Bay.

Community members voiced their concerns over the new tour operation working out of Hilo Bay at a meeting held at the Pu‘ueo Community Center in Hilo on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, at 1 p.m.

The meeting was hosted by the Kuikahi Mediation Center and Julie Mitchell facilitated the discussion. The main purpose of the meeting was to share information with and receive input from the community.

About a dozen attendees showed up to voice their concerns.

Ocean users in general who did not support the idea of the “Duck Boat” were the majority of those who attended.

Some of the issues and concerns that were discussed were the Saturday canoe races, pollution, routes, permits, the tour narration and problems that residents could foresee happening.

Hilo Resident Cory Harden stated, “I don’t want duck boats at Bayfront, in the Wailoa River or pond, or near any of our beaches. These are meant to be peaceful places with no noisy motors or large vessels—just people like paddlers, kayakers, paddle boarders, fishers and swimmers, there to relax and refresh their spirits.”

In 2010, a duck boat tour operation on O‘ahu was suspended for a time after boat exploded.

In 2015, four students were killed and dozens injured in Seattle in a duck boat accident.

One Dead, Two Injured in Highway 19 Collision

A “T-bone-type” collision involving two vehicles claimed the life of one person and injured two others on Highway 19 on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017.

The Hawai‘i Fire Department arrived on the scene at 4:20 p.m. and reported that a four-door sedan heading north hydroplaned and crossed the centerline and collided with a pick-up truck heading south around the 33 and 34 mile markers of Highway 19 in Pa‘auilo.

The occupant of the sedan was ejected and found dead approximately 25 feet from the vehicle.

The occupants of the pick up truck had minor injuries. One male party was treated and transported and the other was released at the scene.

Fire Rescue at Kona Pacific Condominiums

An elderly-disabled woman required assistance to evacuate the Kona Pacific Condominiums after a fire was reported there.

VRBO photo

Firefighter responded on the scene at 10:58 a.m. to find smoke coming from the fifth-floor corner unit.

Fire companies from Kona Station 7, Keauhou Station 12, Makalei station 21 and Battalion Chief 2 of Waikoloa responded to the fire that had originated in a dryer and spread to the apartment entryway, limiting the occupants escape routes.

Two other occupants sheltered in a safe place in the adjoining unit while fire fighters extinguished the fire.

The occupant of the unit involved in the fire, escaped without injury and another building occupant activated a pull station alarm while evacuating all others that he could notify.

The fire was doused utilizing a fire extinguisher and a wall-mounted suppression system (hose cabinet).

There were no injuries reported. The fire was out at 11:20 a.m. and the total property loss was valued at $40,000.

Hwy 130 Costs Exceeds $25 Million in 5 Years

Kea‘au-Pāhoa Road construction on Highway 130 in Puna over the last five years has cost Hawai‘i taxpayers more than $25 million.

Speed limits along the corridor have been reduced from 55 mph to 45 mph.

There is still much work to be done in the next few years and costs will be incurred as more studies and projects are funded.

The following contracts were awarded to various firms from Thursday, May 31, 2012, to Thursday, Oct. 16, 2016:

  • On Thursday, May 31, 2012, Jas. W. Glover received a contract for $492,620.00 for Kea‘au-Pāhoa Road intersection improvements at Ainaloa Boulevard. Federal-Aid Project No. HSIP-013030.
  • On Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2013, Nan Inc., received a contract for $14,988,673.00 for the Kea‘au-Pāhoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion Phase one. Federal-Aid Project No. STP-013028.
  • On Wednesday, June 18, 2014, Isemoto Contracting received a contract for $4,819,350.00 for Kea‘au-Pāhoa Road intersection improvements at Old Government Road. Federal-Aid Project No. HSIP-0130 031.
  • On Thursday, June 20, 2016 SSFM International received a contract for $1,275,750.00 for Professional Services.
  • On Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, Jas W. Glover received another contract for $3,720,700 for Kea‘au-Pāhoa Road Shoulder Lane Conversion Phase 2 Shower Drive Intersection Improvements. Goods, Services & Construction.

Total: $25,297,093

These costs do not include previous contracts awarded for recommendations made by the Kea‘au-Pāhoa Advisory Group (KPAG).