Rep. Denny Coffman Receives Certificate in Energy Policy

Hawaii State Representative Denny Coffman (District 6 – North Kona, Keauhou, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau), who serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, announced today that he has received a certificate in Energy Policy from the Legislative Energy Horizon Institute, a partnership between The Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER), the National Conference of State Legislatures, the University of Idaho and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Institute was created to educate state lawmakers on the infrastructure and delivery systems of North American energy resources.  Participating legislators are often chairs of committees within their respective state legislatures and are responsible for developing state energy policies.   The 18-month program focuses on issues associated with energy, natural gas and petroleum infrastructure; regulation governing this infrastructure, and interdependencies.

“It is critical that we in Hawaii obtain a more comprehensive understanding of energy issues, and the nuts and bolts of infrastructure and delivery systems, as we strive to develop the best policies for the islands,” said Rep. Coffman.  “Developing more efficient energy systems is one of the most important issues that each state faces for the future.  The policies we adopt today will impact the cost of energy and the way we consume energy for generations to follow.”

As part of the program, Rep. Coffman completed 60 credit hours of webinar training and coursework, including two out-of-state seminars.  He traveled to Portland, Oregon for an extensive 4-day workshop last July, and to Washington, D.C. for the final training and graduation during June 14 – 16, 2012.  The graduating class of 37 lawmakers from the United States and Canada received their certificates at the Canadian Embassy on Saturday, June 16th.

“Legislators learn how our energy infrastructure actually works and is built, including the resources they can access to make better energy policy decisions,” said Jeff Morris, Director of the institute.  Information on the Legislative Energy Horizon Institute and the graduating class of 2012 can be found here:

Up Country Luncheon Planned by Friends of Mitch Roth

The community is invited to join Friends of Mitch Roth in a fundraising luncheon Saturday, June 23, 2012 at the Thelma Parker Library Gym.  Hosted by Beth Mehau and Aunty Stephanie Lindsey, the event will begin at 11 a.m. with sign-waving, followed by a chili & rice lunch and upcountry entertainment.

Mitch Roth and his wife Noriko at the 2012 Merrie Monarch

At 2 p.m. there will be a presentation of the Kealakehe High School Student film, “Shattered Dreams” held at the Thelma Parker Memorial Library adjacent to the gym complex. Admission is by donation and all are welcome.

Mitch Roth, 47, is a candidate for Hawai’i County Prosecuting Attorney, campaigning with the concepts of “keeping our Big Island communities safe and healthy.”  Roth has 18 years’ experience as a Deputy Prosecutor, and joined the Hawai’i County Prosecutor’s office in 1998, at the invitation of former prosecutor Jay Kimura.  Roth is chair of the State of Hawaii’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan whose goal is to reduce traffic fatalities, and was instrumental in bringing the Shattered Dreams alcohol prevention program to High Schools on the Big Island.

For more information, visit, or call Beth Mehau at 887-2289.

North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) Announces a New Breast Health Program

North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) announces a new Breast Health Program to offer patients access to the latest cutting-edge technology, a more comfortable experience, faster image analysis and on-going support, in coordination with Hawaii’s new mammography self-referral law, which takes effect on July 1st, 2012.

NHCH’s Imaging Department recently upgraded from analog technology to a state-of-the-art digital mammography machine called MAMMOMAT Inspiration by Siemens. “This new machine is absolutely the best mammography equipment available, and we are all really excited to offer this to our patients,” says Dr. George Ainge, Medical Director of Imaging at NHCH. The hospital’s new digital mammography machine provides technologists the ability to review the images in real time to determine image quality, providing more information for diagnosis. “Our new digital mammography machine also features intelligent breast compression technology, which offers patients a more comfortable exam experience with a shorter exam time and one-third less exposure to x-rays,” says Dr. Ainge.

According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, which is the most common form of cancer in women. Early detection is key in treating breast cancer, and annual mammography can help detect breast tumors at their earliest, most treatable stages.

A new Hawai‘i state law will take effect July 1st, 2012, allowing women over the age of 40, for the first time ever, the right and ability to choose when, where and with whom they’d like to schedule their annual breast-screening exam, without a referral from their primary care physician. “The timing of Hawaii’s new self-referral state law and our new Breast Health Program could not be more perfect,” said Ken Wood, President and CEO of NHCH. We are proud to give women in our community the opportunity to engage in their own healthcare and not be hindered by an old referral process.” Prior to July 1, women in Hawaii had to get a referral from a physician or be given permission from their healthcare provider to schedule and receive an annual exam.

NHCH’s new Breast Health Program offers patients more than just upgraded state-of-the-art technology. “We revamped our breast health program by incorporating multiple upgrades and process improvements by creating a more patient centered model of care which supports patients throughout the entire mammography process from start to finish,” says Lorrie Mortensen, NHCH Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer. Mammography results are now produced much more quickly, helping to decrease patient anxiety. “Mammography results that used to take days or weeks are now available in a fraction of that time,” says Mortensen.

In addition, should an abnormality be discovered during a patient’s screening mammography, NHCH radiologists are now able to expedite any additional testing and, if necessary, perform a minimally-invasive biopsy to establish a diagnosis. Previously, a patient needing additional testing was referred to Hilo or off island. “Our new Breast Health Program is designed to minimize anxiety by providing rapid and accurate diagnosis close to home,” says Dr. Ainge. When additional follow-up is required, NHCH’s new Breast Health Program will support patients by arranging referrals to Hawai‘i Island healthcare providers. “In addition, we now have the technology, processes and relationships in place which allow us to consult rapidly with women’s health specialists in Oahu, making quick and effective diagnosis and treatment a reality, despite our rural location,” says Mortensen.

New technologies at NHCH and Hawaii’s new state law are major, positive developments in the fight against breast cancer. To take advantage of Hawaii’s new self-referral process and NHCH’s new digital mammography technology, please call NHCH’s Imaging Department at 881-4882 to schedule your annual mammogram.

The Pahoa Senior Center Opens

The long awaited opening of the Pahoa Senior Center became a reality today as close to two hundred community members came together to help launch the opening of the center today.

Mayor Kenoi and Fred Blas as well as many other current and former politicians were on hand today.

The location of the new center is next to the Pahoa Community Center at the old Pahoa Fire Station that has been remodeled by many folks that volunteered their time and money to get this to become a reality.

Folks got to tour the facility and everyone was impressed with what had been accomplished.

Mayor Kenoi told me that he was willing to work with Oceanic Cable to help get internet services provided to the center… as Oceanic has been looking at projects such as this to possibly help out with.

It was great to see so many folks come out in support… especially 106 year old Pahoa resident Saramae Landers.

The center even has a small kitchen!

I sure hope that the facility is taken care of… it is something that this community has needed for a long time… and yes… Elvis was in the house.

Mayor Billy Kenoi and Puna Councilman Fred Blas welcomed more than 200 people, many of them area seniors. The Senior Center, in the heart of Pāhoa, is the former Pāhoa Fire Station which Hawai‘i Carpenters Union apprentices and County personnel transformed into a community gathering place. The station was vacated when Pāhoa’s firefighters moved to a new $5.3 million fire station in 2009.

The convenient location in the center of town will be used to provide a variety of classes and programs offered by the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Elderly Activities Division, including Senior ID, Senior Employment, and the RSVP volunteer program.

It’s the most beautiful facility of its kind on the island, Councilman Blas told the audience members.

“Our seniors can play, can work and can enjoy our center,” he said, adding Mayor Kenoi’s can-do attitude is responsible for completing the renovation project that frees up the Pāhoa Community Center for keiki Summer Fun Programs and other activities.

Mayor Kenoi said he’s proud of the County’s senior programs and the hard working employees who make them and projects like the Pāhoa Senior Center possible.

“Our senior programs in every community – Ka‘ū, Kohala, Kona, Hilo, Waimea, Puna – are fantastic programs because of fantastic people. It makes you really proud,” Mayor Kenoi said.

“All of this that we’re here today to celebrate is because of the wonderful people, both in the County and in the community, all working together. When people put aside differences and we work together to take care of our kūpuna, it’s a good thing,” Mayor Kenoi said, noting he’s proud to be from Puna.

He credited Councilman Blas, along with former Councilwoman Emily Nae‘ole and former Councilman Gary Safarik, for having helped deliver the improved services to Puna’s seniors.

Noting it was a day to give, Mayor Kenoi said work has started to develop a $5.5 million, 56-acre Pāhoa Regional Park that will be the “nicest on the island.”

Among those publically recognized was Puna’s own living legend – and the most senior member of the Pāhoa Senior Club – Saramae Landers, 106 years young.

Father Joey Ranjo of Sacred Heart Church delivered the blessing, while Dan Nicks aka “Elvis Presley,” Puna Men’s Chorus, Ernie Cruz, Alu Like Senior Group and the Pāhoa Senior Ukulele Class under the direction of Nohealani Sarong entertained the crowd.

The No. 1 Chinese BBQ, L&L Drive-Inn, Luquins Mexican Restaurant, Bryson’s Cinders, Paul’s Repair Service and Gas Station, Pāhoa Cash & Carry Store, Sanford’s Service Center Inc., Madie Greene, and Councilman Blas all donated food for the event. Stanley Oishi from Big Rock Anthurium furnished flowers, while Nā Kāne volunteers helped with the event.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or