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Congressional Candidate Bob Marx on the Responsible Homeowner’s Refinancing Act

Bob Marx supports “Responsible Homeowner’s Refinancing Act” to help struggling homeowners refinance their mortgages.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx

Mr. Marx, the lone neighbor island candidate for Hawai‘i’s Second Congressional District, today endorsed legislation to help homeowners who are “underwater” on their mortgages refinance at a lower rate. Speaking to a group at a coffee talk in Kea‘au, Marx stressed that the federal government must make it a priority to help struggling homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than what their homes are now worth.

A new bill authored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-C.A.) and Sen. Menendez (D-N.J.) is aimed at helping these homeowners refinance their mortgages. It was introduced on the Senate floor earlier this week, and named the ‘Responsible Homeowner’s Refinancing Act.” The bill, S. 170, would provide for the affordable refinancing of mortgages currently held by Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac.

“This legislation could save each homeowner several thousand dollars each year, and, more importantly, keep them in their own homes,” Marx told the crowd. “There is no need to put more hardworking people and their families out on the streets, or ask their extended families to take on a larger burden by taking them in.”

Moody’s (MCO), a credit agency cited by Sen. Boxer, estimates that this legislation would allow up to three million homeowners to refinance their mortgages at a much lower interest rate. This bill would put more money back in the pockets of homeowners whose budgets are already stretched thin. The legislation would also provide some much needed stability to America’s housing market.

Some major provisions of the bill include:

  • Eliminating up-front refinance costs
  • Eliminating appraisal costs
  • Requiring second mortgage holders to cooperate
  • Removing barriers to competition
  • Extending streamlined refinancing plans to more people
  • Providing certainty to mortgage bond holders

Marx said, “Many of my constituents and friends are in real estate and construction. They have not had consistent work since 2006. We must do what we can to ensure homeownership is a reachable goal of the American dream. Lower interest rates for homeowners who are now underwater will assist in a small but significant manner in getting the overdue housing recovery on track,” Marx emphasized.

Successful Launch of Experimental Hypersonic Scramjet Research Flight from the Pacific Missile Range Facility – HIFiRE

A team that includes NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is celebrating the successful launch of an experimental hypersonic scramjet research flight from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.

The Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation Program (HIFiRE) launches an experimental hypersonic scramjet vehicle from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii during a recent research flight. Credit: AFRL

NASA, AFRL and Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) are working with a number of partners on the HIFiRE (Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation Program) program to advance hypersonic flight — normally defined as beginning at Mach 5 — five times the speed of sound. The research program is aimed at exploring the fundamental technologies needed to achieve practical hypersonic flight. Being able to fly at hypersonic speeds could revolutionize high speed, long distance flight and provide more cost-effective access to space.

During the experiment the scramjet — aboard its sounding rocket — climbed to about 100,000 feet (30,480 meters) in altitude, accelerated from Mach 6 to Mach 8 (4,567 to 6,090 miles per hour; 7,350 to 9,800 kilometers per hour) and operated about 12 seconds — a big accomplishment for flight at hypersonic speeds. It was the fourth of a planned series of up to 10 flights under HIFiRE and the second focused on scramjet engine research.

The HIFiRE 2 scramjet research payload included a hypersonic inward turning inlet, followed by a scramjet combustor and dual-exhaust nozzle. More than 700 instruments on board recorded and transmitted data to researchers on the ground. The payload was developed under a partnership between the AFRL and NASA, with contributions from the Navy’s detachment at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. and ATK GASL located in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

“This is the first time we have flight tested a hydrocarbon-fueled scramjet accelerating from Mach 6 to Mach 8,” said NASA Hypersonics Project Scientist Ken Rock, based at NASA’S Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. “At Mach 6 the inlet compression and combustion process was designed to reduce the flow to below Mach 1 — subsonic combustion. But at Mach 8 flight the flow remained greater than Mach 1 or supersonic throughout the engine. So this test will give us unique scientific data about scramjets transitioning from subsonic to supersonic combustion — something we can’t simulate in wind tunnels.”

The data collected during the execution of the HIFiRE experiments is expected to make a significant contribution to the development of future high-speed air-breathing engine concepts and help improve design, modeling, and simulation tools.

Technicians mount the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) Flight 2 research vehicle on a turntable for weight distribution evaluations at a White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) facility. Credit: WSMR/John Hamilton

The success of the three-stage launch system, consisting of two Terrier boost motors and an Oriole sustainer motor, is another important achievement of the HIFiRE 2 mission. The HIFiRE 2 mission, the first flight of this sounding rocket configuration, opens the door for a new high–performance flight configuration to support future Air Force, Navy, and NASA flight research.

The HIFiRE team has already achieved other milestones such as the design, assembly and extensive pre-flight testing of the hypersonic vehicles and the design of complex avionics and flight systems. Demonstrating supersonic combustion in flight with a hydrocarbon fueled scramjet, compared to a hydrogen-fueled scramjet, is significant, according to researchers. While hydrogen fuel is more reactive, hydrocarbon fuel offers many benefits, including operational simplicity and higher fuel density so a hypersonic vehicle can carry more fuel. This represents yet another noteworthy achievement for the HIFiRE program, with additional test flights scheduled in the coming months and years.

Hawaii Schools to Receive Nearly $1.4 million for College Preparation

Hawaii will receive $1,390,999 to help prepare high school students for college, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Senator Daniel K. Akaka, U.S. Representative Mazie K. Hirono, and U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa announced.

Upward Bound Programs at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, University of Hawaii-Maui College, and Windward Community College will receive funding to support disadvantaged youth.

The money will be spent helping students from low income families, those living with disabilities, and first generation college students prepare for a successful collegiate career.

Upward Bound provides academic tutoring, advice and assistance, preparation for college entrance exams, and counseling.

“The college admissions process can be a stressful experience. Students are faced with the daunting task of taking the SAT, writing admissions essays, choosing the right coursework, and then figuring out how to pay for it. The process is that much more difficult for students coming from challenging backgrounds,” said Senator Inouye. “The Upward Bound program prepares and guides these students through high school and beyond. I commend the Upward Bound staff at UH Hilo, UH Maui College, and WCC for their commitment to Hawaii’s youth, and the future of our state and nation. ”

“As a former educator, I know how crucial a solid education is to improving the lives of our nation’s youth,” said Senator Akaka. “The Upward Bound program has successfully created many opportunities for hundreds of Hawaii’s disadvantaged students to continue their education past high-school, and ultimately obtain advanced degrees. I applaud the Department of Education’s commitment to helping these students overcome challenging circumstances to make a better future for themselves and their families.”

“From Weimarlyn Martin to Tyler Pitpit, Upward Bound students have shared with me their success stories and dreams of graduating from college. It’s clear Upward Bound makes a big difference in the lives of many students,” said Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee. “As a first generation college graduate myself, I know how daunting the idea of attending and paying for college can be. My experience working with Upward Bound as a UH Manoa student showed me the value of the Upward Bound program. Thanks to Upward Bound at UH Hilo, UH Maui College, and Windward Community College, students will have the information and support they need to be successful college graduates.”

“Hawaii’s Upward Bound Program helps our students from underserved communities prepare for college and their future. I had the opportunity to visit one of the program sites, and it’s clear that these students are not only getting academic support and career guidance, but also the encouragement and self confidence they need to succeed. I applaud the Upward Bound staff and faculty for their hard work and dedication, and I thank the Administration for their continued investment in Hawaii’s students,” said Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa.

The funding comes through grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal TRIO Programs.

The following schools have received funding:

  • University of Hawaii at Hilo $750,000
  • University of Hawaii Maui College $378,499
  • Windward Community College $262,500

For more information about the Upward bound programs in Hawaii, please visit:

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Introduces Two New Programs

Two adventurous programs offered by Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will introduce a captivating landscape, biodiversity and history of the park’s southernmost section to intrepid hikers.

People and land of Kahuku, Photo by NPS

People and Land of Kahuku is a two-mile, three-hour expedition through pastures, a quarry, an airstrip and the 1868 lava fields of Kahuku. Rangers will explain how people lived on the vast Kahuku lands, from the earliest Hawaiians through today. Walk in emerging native forest, hear about Kahuku’s history of violent earthquakes and eruptions and the residents who survived them, and find out how Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park plans to restore the native ecosystem and protect Kahuku’s cultural sites.

The hike is offered May 19, June 3, July 15, and Aug. 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Meet near the Kahuku gate, which is located off Highway 11 between mile markers 70 and 71 on the mauka side of the highway. Park and meet inside the gate near the ranch buildings. Boots, raingear and long pants are recommended. No advance registration is required.

Kīpuka‘akihi is a challenging 1.5 mile, five-hour adventure to see some of the rare plants and wildlife that inhabit this treasured kīpuka. Participants must be prepared to scramble over fallen trees, lava rock, and slippery, wet terrain. Wear sturdy hiking shoes, long pants, sunscreen and a hat. Bring raingear, garden gloves, a day pack, insect repellent, lunch and water. This forest stewardship program provides opportunities to help protect this rainforest by pulling up invasive kāhili ginger and other invasive non-native plants throughout the kīpuka. Due to the fragile nature of the region, the program is limited to 15 people and pre-registration is required. To sign up, call (808) 985-6011.

This expedition into Kahuku’s isolated refuge of rare plants is offered May 26, June 17, July 28 and Aug. 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meet near the Kahuku gate, which is located off Highway 11 between mile markers 70 and 71 on the mauka side of the highway. Park and meet inside the gate near the ranch buildings.