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Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School Only Big Island Schools Affected by DOE Bus Cuts – 2,380 Students Affected Statewide

The Hawaii Department of Education today released the list of the bus routes that would be cut through out the state and the Big Island was left fairly intact.

Only Waikoloa Elementary and Middle Schools will be losing their School Bus Route W282.  The amount of students that will be affected by that bus route being cut is 96.  The total amount of students statewide that will need to find new ways to school is 2,380 students.

Here is the full list of all 103 School Bus Routes that were cut.

Total schools affected 51, Smallest Route affected = 1 student, Largest Route affected = 98 students, Total routes affected =103

Amount of students affected by district:

  • 129 Honolulu
  • 999 Central Oahu
  • 861 Leeward Oahu
  • 161 Windward Oahu
  • 96 Hawaii
  • 30 Maui
  • 104 Kauai
  • 2380 Total riders affected

The Civil Beat has run a very informative column on this whole bus issue that you can read here: Taken for a ride.

Video – Unukupukupu from Hawaii Community College Performs at the Library of Congress

Unukupukupu, a halau from Hawaii Community College on the Big Island of Hawaii, performs at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. on June 26, 2012.


Hawaii Tribune Herald to Shut Down Printing Press – Workers to Be Laid Off

I’ve been away on a small staycation to the Hilton Waikoloa the last few days and haven’t had a chance to comment about the recent announcement that the Hawaii Tribune Herald will be shutting down it’s printing press operations here on the Hilo side of the island.

From the Pacific Media Workers Guild

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald announced on Wednesday (June 27) that, starting in August, the Hilo newspaper will be printed by West Hawaii Today, a sister paper in Kailua-Kona, which will cause several layoffs.

The Aug. 18 edition of the newspaper will be the last printed in Hilo, according to the company. The Hawaii Tribune-Herald and West Hawaii Today are owned by Stephens Media, a Las Vegas, Nev., based chain that operates newspapers in 10 states.

The Hawaii Printing and Graphic Communications Union No. 413N was informed on Wednesday that members will be laid off.

The company explained that the decision to subcontract printing to West Hawaii Today was based on an assessment that the Hilo printing press is old and in need of repair. The company also cited the consolidation of printing operations as an industry trend nationally.

Workers at West Hawaii Today are not represented by labor unions. In a staff memo on Wednesday, West Hawaii Today said the Hawaii Tribune-Herald would be printed at its plant and then transported back to Hilo for packaging and delivery. West Hawaii Today said it did not expect to hire additional press employees.

At this time, the pressmens’ union said it is working out the details with Stephens Media and had no public comment.

The Pacific Media Workers Guild, which represents truck drivers and support staff at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald who could be impacted by the company’s decision to subcontract printing, is closely monitoring negotiations between the company and the pressmens’ union.

“We understand that our industry is facing financial pressure, but we believe the company owes its workers and the Hilo community a full explanation for this decision,” the guild said in a statement.

I feel sorry for the folks that will be losing their jobs, however I question the following statement:

“The company explained that the decision to subcontract printing to West Hawaii Today was based on an assessment that the Hilo printing press is old and in need of repair. The company also cited the consolidation of printing operations as an industry trend nationally….”

The timing of this closure is almost exactly two years to the date of when the employees most recently bargained for contract comes up.  On August 10th, 2010 I received the following media release:

The Hawaii Newspaper Guild and the Hawaii Tribune-Herald have signed a contract after nearly six years of negotiations.

The two-year agreement covers all employees at the Hilo newspaper except pressmen, who are covered by a separate contract, and managers. The pressmen’s negotiations lasted as long as the Guild’s. The contracts are similar.

Both unions have bargained with the newspaper jointly for years, but the negotiations were prolonged this time partly because the company refused joint negotiations.

The contract provides the first wage increases for employees at the newspaper since Jan. 1, 2002.

During the negotiations, the Tribune-Herald was found guilty of 12 unfair labor practice charges by an administrative law judge of the National Labor Relations Board. The charges included the illegal firing of veteran reporters Hunter Bishop and Dave Smith, both of whom were union leaders… 

More here: Hawaii Newspaper Guild and the Hawaii Tribune Sign Contract After Nearly Six Years of Negotiation

I have stated for years that I think the printed version of the paper was a thing of the past.  Even when the two Honolulu papers merged I just thought it would only be a matter of time before the Big Island went the same way.

On June 6, 2010 I wrote:

“Some folks are saying that the dynamics of the the whole digital era is what really killed off the Honolulu Advertiser… I’ve been saying that for the last 6-7 years now.

Big Island papers will probably consolidate soon.  I’ve already started thinking of names.  “Hawaii Tribune Today” was the newspaper name that I think would be most feasible combining Hawaii Tribune Herald with West Hawaii Today.

The funny thing… I don’t think there would be that many lay-offs as both papers seem to use articles at will from the pool of Stephens Media writers here on the island at their expense… Silent Sunday and the Death of the Advertiser… Big Island Newspapers Don’t Have Blogs!

There are some real issues that Hilo folks may have to think about when they decide whether or not they want to continue getting a Newspaper that is driven from nearly 120 miles away from where they live.

Is it local news if its being trucked over in vans every day?  I wonder how long they will be able to afford to send a fleet of vans over to this side of the island and back each day.  Would it even be profitable?   Will the cost of the paper rise as the price of gas fluctuates?

And the biggest question… Why hasn’t the Hawaii Tribune Herald themselves tell their readers what is going on?  It’s been nearly three days since the announcement has been made.  Yep…. I understand no one wants to write their own obituary… but at least tell your readers what is going to be happening and where there favorite local journalist(s) can be found.

I will offer any laid off person from the Hawaii Tribune an opportunity to start up and learn how to make a website/blog similar to something like my site is.  I am always discouraged when good journalists just quit writing simply because they don’t have a platform or audience.

Department of Health Suspends Permit of Popular Bakery for Unsanitary Conditions

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health has suspended the permit for Kanemitsu Bakery, located at 79 Ala Malama Street in Kaunakakai on the island of Moloka‘i, for producing baked goods manufactured at the facility under unsanitary conditions. State health officials met with owner George Kanemitsu on June 25, 2012 and issued the suspension which closes bakery operations until a plan of correction is completed and approved.

On June 15, 2012, the DOH received an anonymous public complaint alleging that insects and foreign substances were found in bread rolls purchased from Kanemitsu Bakery. This led to an investigation of the facility by health officials on June 20, 2012. The facility also has pending violations that resulted in the DOH issuing a $90,000 penalty for unsanitary conditions found during routine inspections conducted in March of this year.

The inspection on June 20 revealed serious deficiencies in the maintenance and manufacturing practices conducted at the facility including: visual sighting of rodents during the inspection, no water available at the rinse compartment of the sink, unclean food preparation surfaces, no soap and hand towels at hand washing sinks, and general unsanitary conditions.

In order to assist Kanemitsu Bakery in correcting the conditions that led to the permit suspension, the DOH is working closely with the owner and providing a check-list of concerns that need to be addressed by the facility in order for their permit to be reinstated. The bakery portion of the Moloka‘i facility will remain closed while an intensive mitigation plan developed with the DOH is completed, and measures are taken to ensure consistent and lasting compliance with all food safety regulations. The restaurant portion of the facility remains open and was not included in the permit suspension as it operates out of a separate, permitted kitchen.

The DOH Sanitation Branch protects and promotes the health of Hawai‘i residents and visitors through education of food industry workers and regulation of food establishments statewide. The branch conducts routine inspections of facilities where food products are prepared, manufactured, distributed or sold. The branch also investigates possible food safety violations that may be the cause of food borne illnesses, and allegations of adulterated foods. Health inspectors work with business owners, workers, and the food industry to ensure safe food preparation and sanitary conditions.

County of Hawaii, Hawaii Tourism Authority and Friends of Hawaii Charities Award Needed Funds to Volcano Art Center

Rain showers are nothing new for the Big Island’s Volcano Village, but for one local nonprofit, fresh grant funding has been pouring in along with all the wet weather. Volcano Art Center (VAC) has recently been awarded three new grants to expand their education, outreach and forest restoration programs.

Hawaii County has just approved VAC’s request to create a Hawaii Island Network of Artists (HINA) economic impact report and website, awarding $21,250 to help fund the undertaking. Particularly strong in arts administration, including sales, education and promotion, VAC is already positioned to research, promote, perpetuate and document the expanding community of artists throughout Hawaii County.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) states in their 2008 report, Artists in the Workforce, that the State of Hawaii ranks #3 per capita of the 50 states with fine artists and craftspeople. According to their report, nearly 15 of every 10,000 residents is an artist.

“Given our involvement with this community, we are certain Hawaii Island has far more than 270 visual and fine artists,” reported VAC CEO Tanya Aynessazian. “Our research will provide the County and State with the documentation they need to promote Hawaii as an arts destination, directly benefit local artists and enhance our island economy.”

Hawaii’s state tourism agency, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), awarded VAC with a $35,527 grant to continue the Volcano Rain Forest Restoration and Education project that has been active since 2006. The funding enables VAC to serve as stewards of the Niaulani Rain Forest, a 5.5 acre old-growth native forest in Volcano Village that makes up most of the land on which the organization houses its administrative campus.

Preserving the forest for future generations requires VAC to assume the unending responsibility of controlling about 30 non-native plants. They have smartly involved community volunteers in ongoing restoration efforts and service learning opportunities, and offer free guided tours on Mondays and Saturdays to bring even more awareness to this rare Hawaiian treasure.

VAC will soon be offering a Youth Media Arts program thanks to another grant of $5,000 awarded by Friends of Hawaii Charities. Funds will be used to purchase equipment for an open Media Arts Lab, and to provide classes, courses and workshops in digital photography, storyboarding, storytelling, camera and film basics, and filmmaking. Intended for youth ages 5 to 19, technical aspects of photography and video production will be taught with an emphasis on how media enhances education, awareness and community.

Volcano Art Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created in 1974 whose mission is to promote, develop and perpetuate the artistic, cultural and environmental heritage of Hawaii through the arts and education.

July 4th Road Closures in Hilo

The Hawaiʻi Police Department would like to inform all motorists of the July 4th festivity road closures:

Bayfront Highway (Rte. 19) from Waianuenue Avenue to Pauahi Street

• Closed July 4th from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Alternate route is on Kamehameha Avenue

Lihiwai Place

• Closed July 4th from 6:00 a.m. to July 5th 10:00 a.m.

Kuku Street and Bishop Street

• Closed July 3rd from 3:00 a.m. to July 4th 10:00 p.m.

Road Closure information phone number: 961-2350

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this celebration.