Newly Enacted Medical Marijuana Bill Refocuses on Compassionate Treatment in Hawaii

Medical Marijuana moves from the public safety side of things to the health side of things.

Medical Marijuana moves from the public safety side of things to the health side of things.

Health Committee Chair Representative Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa) issued the following statement regarding this afternoon’s signing of Senate Bill 642 and House Bill 668, bills relating to the administration of medical marijuana:

“Today’s bills represent a significant step forward in improving Hawaii’s medical marijuana program and aligning it with best practices of medical cannabis programs in other states.  By refocusing the program on medical matters such as the role of the primary physician and the role of the Department of Health in providing regulation and program oversight, the State can better ensure the compassionate treatment of people suffering from debilitating health conditions.”


Video: Councilman Greggor Ilagan on the Bus Fare Increase

Councilman Greggor Ilagan explains his vote.  Video courtesy of Big Island Video News:


Kona’s Kohanaiki Beach Park Dedicated

A public blessing, dedication and opening ceremony for the new Kohanaiki Beach Park in Kona was held today at the park’s halau.
Kohanaiki Hale
Situated along 1.5 miles of coastline, Kohanaiki is one of North Kona’s most popular surfing, diving and camping areas. The park’s completion represents years of collaboration between lineal descendants of the area, community groups, the County of Hawai‘i, and Kohanaiki Shores. Ongoing responsibilities for the park will be shared between Kohanaiki Shores, the County and the community.
“This grassroots effort by the community is an excellent example of collaboration between the public, a landowner, and county government. It will ensure that Kohanaiki remains the special place that we have cherished for generations,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “Mahalo to everyone in the Kona community who worked so hard to make the opening of this shoreline park possible.”
The park includes bathrooms and outdoor showers, designated camping areas, a halau for cultural practices, improved and additional parking, and improved roadways to and along the shoreline and within the park. Portable toilets, which have been in use while new facilities were being developed, will also remain in place.
“The Kohanaiki Shoreline Park is the result of years of collaboration and negotiation; it represents a willingness on the part of all stakeholders to share in the stewardship of this very special place,” said Hawai‘i County Council member Karen Eoff, who represents District 8. “A Good Faith Agreement, forged in 2003, establishes Kohanaiki as the first County park on Hawai‘i Island where management and maintenance will be a shared responsibility between landowners, County and community.” Councilwoman Eoff has been involved with the project in various capacities since its inception.
Following the dedication, the park will be open daily and available for camping five days a week for up to 80 campers a night. Park hours for day use will be from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Camping administration will eventually transition to the Department of Parks & Recreation, but is currently handled by Kohanaiki Shores. Camping permits are issued at the beach on a first come, first served basis. For more information and for reservations, call 329-6200.
Kohanaiki Park Beach

Kohanaiki Park Beach

“The new park at Kohanaiki is a great addition to our growing West Hawai‘i community,” said Parks & Recreation Director Clayton Honma. “The new facilities make this a safe place for our families to spend time together, and make it possible for more members of our community to enjoy this treasure.”
In addition to improved vehicular access, park goers can use an already established pedestrian trail, which runs the length of the shoreline and is part of the longer Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail. Beyond the paved turnaround, the trail will be used to access the halau and the southern boundary of Kohanaiki.
“It’s been a journey of diplomacy, compromise, and collaboration,” said Rebecca Villegas, president of Kohanaiki ‘Ohana, an active member of the community partnership that worked toward establishment of the shoreline park. “We’ve created a model for future coastline developments, bridging the gap between government, developers, and community interests.”
A preservation and cultural plan, guided by the lineal descendants of Kohanaiki, is in place to guide the conservation of historic and cultural sites at the park, as well as ongoing cultural practices at the halau.

Maui and Molokai Residents Invited to Visit the Hōkūle‘a

The Polynesian voyaging canoe Hōkūle‘a welcomes the public to visit her in Mā‘alaea Harbor for a few more days.  Crew members have been connecting with youth and community groups since their arrival on Maui on June 17th.

The Hokulea in Hilo

The Hokulea in Hilo

A community presentation about the upcoming Worldwide Voyage is planned for Wednesday, June 26, from 6:00-8:00 PM at the headquarters of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary at 726 S. Kīhei Road (see attached flyer).  Apprentice navigator Ka‘iulani Murphy and crewmembers from Hui ‘o Wa‘a Kaulua, ‘Ohana Wa‘a and Polynesian Voyaging Society will be sharing their stories.

While docked at Mā‘alaea, the public is welcome to visit Hōkūle‘a between 9 AM – 12 noon and 1-5 PM through the 27th.

Mālama Hawai‘i is the first leg of Mālama Honua, the Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines.  Hōkūle‘a will pay respects to communities throughout Hawai‘i in gratitude for 38 years of support of voyaging here.

Na Aumakua of the Hokulea

Na Aumakua of the Hokulea

In addition, we will feature stories of leadership and wise practices in resource management, voyaging and navigation, innovative education, and cultural practice throughout the islands.  The plans for the Worldwide Voyage will be shared at every port.  Over the next several weeks*, Hōkūle‘a will be in the waters of Maui Nui:

  • Through June 27      Mā‘alaea, Maui
  • June 28 – Jul 1           Lahaina, Maui
  • July 1 – 3                      Kealaikahiki, Kaho‘olawe
  • July 3 – 8                      Mānele, Lāna‘i
  • July 8 – 15                   Kaunakakai, Moloka‘i
  • August 16 – 18           Hāna, Maui
  • August 18 – 19           Honolua, Maui
  • August 19 – 20          Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i
  • August 20 – 23          Kaunakakai, Moloka‘i

* All dates are subject to change.  Committed to the safety of our crews and vessels, all sail dates are weather/safety dependent.

Horizon Lines Plans to Convert Steam-Powered Cargo Vessels To Dual Diesel/LNG Engine Power Plants

Horizon Lines, Inc., one of the nation’s leading domestic ocean shipping companies, today announced that it plans to convert the power plants on two of its steam turbine cargo vessels to modern diesel engines capable of burning conventional liquid fuels or liquefied natural gas (LNG).


“We are viewing this as the first step in a repowering initiative for Horizon Lines vessels serving in the Hawaii and Puerto Rico trade lanes,” said Sam Woodward, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The two initial steam vessels targeted for the planned repowering are structurally viable for the conversion from steam-powered to dual diesel/LNG engines. Additionally, our repowering project has the support of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). We plan to work closely with the ABS and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) throughout the life of the project.”

The project’s goal is to reduce fuel consumption and lower emissions. The project, which would include an integrated repowering solution encompassing main engines, supporting components, and LNG storage tanks, has attracted interest from both domestic and foreign shipyards. As a result, six request-for-pricings (RFPs) have been issued to U.S. shipyards and six have been issued to foreign shipyards. The company has not decided where the repowering work would be conducted at this time, pending receipt and evaluation of the RFPs.

Horizon Challenger

The Horizon Challenger

Horizon Lines requested a predetermination ruling from the USCG National Vessel Documentation Center on coastwise eligibility in order to determine if the company could consider foreign options in addition to U.S. shipyards for the project. The USCG ruled that the work as described can take place in a foreign shipyard without jeopardizing the Jones Act status of the vessels.

“We expect to receive the completed RFPs in mid-July and will evaluate each based on the overall value that the shipyard can provide in terms of quality of work, cost of the project and schedule requirements,” said Pete Strohla, Vice President and General Manager of the company’s Ocean Transportation Services group. “As we further explore a comprehensive fleet program, additional RFPs will be needed to meet our vessel requirements. We expect U.S. shipyards will provide bids for this initial repowering project, as well as for upcoming projects. We tentatively expect work to commence on the first vessel in January 2015 and the first two ships to be completed late that same year or in early 2016.”

Horizon Lines also is conducting due diligence regarding various engine manufacturers capable of meeting the company’s specifications for a dual-fuel, medium-speed diesel power plant required for the planned repowering project. The company currently does not have a contract with any engine manufacturer but has engaged MAN Diesel & Turbo SE to conduct preliminary engineering, consulting and design work related to the proposed
repowering project.

“Horizon Lines is committed to a comprehensive repowering program that will improve our fleet’s fuel efficiency and environmental impact,” said Bill Hamlin, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “Doing this in a cost-effective manner, while at the same time continuing to provide outstanding service to our customers without disruption, is consistent with Horizon Lines’ commitment to its customers, the consumers in the markets we serve, and our obligations as a Jones Act carrier.”

Daniel K. Inouye Memorial Fund Awards First Set of Grants

More than $100,000 provided to support organizations and causes championed by the late Senator Inouye

Hawai’i Community Foundation announced today that the Daniel K. Inouye Memorial Fund has awarded a total of $107,000 to the following 35 organizations in its first set of grants:

  • 442nd Regimental Combat Team Foundation
  • ‘Ahahui Mālama I Ka Lōkahi
  • Alaka’ina Foundation
  • Aloha Medical Mission
  • American Cancer Society Hawai’i Pacific
  • Bishop Museum
  • Boy Scouts of America – Aloha Council
  • Boys & Girls Club of Hawai’i
  • Filipino Community Center, Inc.
  • Girl Scouts of Hawai’i
  • Harris United Methodist Church
  • Hawai’i 3R’s
  • Hawai’i United Okinawa Association
  • Hawai’i Foodbank
  • Hawai’i Public Radio
  • Hawai’i Public Television Foundation dba PBS Hawai’i
  • Historic Hawai’i Foundation
  • Japanese American National Museum
  • Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i
  • Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa
  • Kaua’i Economic Development Board
  • Kīlauea Point Natural History Association
  • Maui Arts & Cultural Center
  • Maui Economic Development Board Inc.
  • National Marine Sanctuary Foundation
  • National Tropical Botanical Garden
  • Nisei Veterans Memorial Center on Maui
  • Parents and Children Together
  • Rotary District 5000 Foundation
  • State of Hawai’i, DOE – Wai’anae High School
  • Susannah Wesley Community Center
  • The Friends of ‘Iolani Palace
  • University of Hawai’i Foundation – ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai’i
  • U.S. – Japan Council
  • YMCA of Honolulu, Metropolitan Office

“The Hawai’i Community Foundation is honored and privileged to award the first grants of the Daniel K. Inouye Memorial Fund,” said Kelvin H. Taketa, Hawai’i Community Foundation president and CEO. “The legacy of Senator Inouye, his tremendous leadership and courage, continues to support and inspire our community today.”

Senator Daniel K. Inouye

Senator Daniel K. Inouye

“These grants are a small token of appreciation for the important work these organizations did with Dan over the years to enhance the social fabric of Hawai’i, which he dearly loved,” said Irene Hirano Inouye, wife of the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. “I hope they will continue their collective good work in the years ahead.”

The Daniel K. Inouye Memorial Fund was created in December 2012 at the request of Irene Hirano Inouye. The fund was established to continue to help the organizations and causes that the senator supported over the years. To date, the fund has received 613 donations from the public amounting to more than $173,000.

Inouye passed away on Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 at the age of 88 from respiratory complications. He was the second longest serving member of the U.S. Senate prior to his death, with 49 years of service.


Official Athlete Start List Announced for Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championships

The Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championships (M2O), presented by Kona Longboard Island Lager annually crowns world champions in the two disciplines of traditional (prone) and stand up paddleboarding (SUP). The endurance challenge represents the pinnacle achievement for paddlers around the world, looking to test their abilities in the sport. Race weekend updates and race day coverage will be fed to Facebook and Twitter at hash tag #M2O. Official start list can be found at


The 17th annual M2O on Sunday, July 28, 2013 is poised to display the most competitive race in the men’s SUP division that the event has ever experienced. The women’s SUP field features a record number of talented veterans who are capable of pushing the limits and delivering a close race.

Men’s defending champion Connor Baxter from the island of Maui returns this year after setting a course record of 4 hours, 13 minutes, 26 seconds in 2012. In addition to his speed on an unlimited SUP board, Baxter also holds the record as the youngest male champion in race history, claiming his first victory at 16. Now 18, Baxter will be tested by another young gun also from Maui, 20-year-old Kai Lenny.

Last year, Lenny proved he had the potential to become a champion at M2O after he crossed the channel in record time on a stock SUP board and still managed to finish third overall (4:22:14), just minutes behind his faster counterparts on unlimited boards. Racing this year on a sleeker UL board, there is no doubt Lenny will prove troublesome for the other top men.

M20 Paddleboard

Excitement from the coast of California came when news broke about Danny Ching’s entry into this year’s men’s SUP race. The 30-year-old Redondo Beach resident is currently considered America’s best SUP athlete, having won a flurry of events over the past two years. This will be Ching’s first attempt at the M2O championship. An accomplished OC-1 paddler and two-time Champion of the OC -1 Molokai race which covers the same course. Ching was the first Californian to win the coveted title and is keen to do the same at M2O.    

Throw in top SUP athletes from Australia, Travis Grant, 30, and South Africa, Kimon dos Santos, 15, and the race could get tight when the paddlers round Oahu’s iconic China Wall toward the finish line. Grant has been close to Baxter in their European meetings. Dos Santos is the youngest paddler in the field; however, youth has proved beneficial in this race considering Baxter’s M2O championship at the age of 16.

Also in this year’s mix are experienced M2O racers Scott Gamble, 37, from Oahu and Livio Menelau, 34, Maui.

Familiar faces make up the grouping of favorites in the women’s SUP race. Returning champion Talia Gangini-Decoite, 20, will defend her title after breaking former champion Andrea Moller’s win streak, while also setting a new women’s record of 4:55:02. Gangini-Decoite’s record also represents the first time a woman has finished under the five-hour mark in the SUP division. In fact, she smashed Moller’s former record (5:26:51) by more than 30 minutes under favorable conditions.

Moller, 33, is back. As reported by M2O founder Mike Takahashi, the powerful paddler and big wave surfer has been refocused on her training after completing her course work to become a paramedic, while also working full-time and raising a family. Moller convincingly snapped up repeat victories in 2010 and ’11, setting new course records in each win.

All women will need to look out for Annabel Anderson, 32, from New Zealand. Anderson is brining with her the momentum from a series of recent international victories.

M20 Paddleboard

Terrene Black, 29, from Australia will push the pace after finishing third in 2012 (5:18:48). Jenny Kalambach, 29, from the Big Island rounds out the field of top female paddlers. Like Black, Kalambach holds one of the top five M2O finish times (5:46:11).

Celebrities and surfing pros, past and present, join the SUP field this year:

Oracle Team USA Skipper and America’s Cup Champion (2010) James Spithill, 33, from Australia is racing solo SUP in his first crossing of the Ka’iwi Channel. No boat, no crew – just a man and his board.

  • Dancing with the Stars semi-finalist and General Hospital Star Ingo Rademacher, 41, is racing solo SUP in his second M2O having finished the 2011 race in 5:33:38.
  • Hawaiian Legends: Surfing icons and brothers Gerry and Victor Lopez team up with friend Dale Hope as a three-man team.
  • German Surf Champ Sonni Hönscheid, 32, takes on the waves in the Channel of Bones for the first time.
  • Big Wave rider Jamie Sterling, 31, is back in team competition after getting a taste of the channel last year, finishing in 5:15:37 with partner 2012 partner Tucker Ingalls.


M20 Paddleboard

The story line for the men and women’s traditional paddleboard championship can be answered by asking one simple question – Can anyone beat the Australians?

Watching an Australian paddler on a traditional paddleboard is a textbook lesson in power and efficiency. That is why it will be difficult to unseat male and female defending champions Brad Gaul and Jordan Mercer. However, good competitors do not get complacent, especially when the closest competition for these two paddlers will come from fellow Australians.

Last year, Gaul fell about three minutes shy of former champ Jamie Mitchell’s course record of 4:40:31. The 34-year-old Gaul will start this year’s race with a new board he designed and is reported to be on a rigorous training regimen in preparation to defend his title, and perhaps set a new record.


Aussie Matt Poole could be a surprise in the men’s field this year. The 25-year-old has raced M2O on a team, so he knows what the channel can dish out. Poole has had several months to switch from Australian Ironman training to long-distance paddleboarding.

Jackson English, 38, returns after finishing second to Gaul last year (4:59:57).

Brian Rocheleau who floated across the finish line in 5:01:49 tested English last year. In recent years, Rocheleau, a 37-year-old Oahu firefighter, has been the only American to consistently challenge the Australian athletes since they essentially took ownership of the division in 2001 after Aaron Bitmead’s win (5:29:01), followed by Jamie Mitchell’s string of 10 straight championships.

Some know her as “Jordie.” The M2O community knows her as the youngest overall champion in the field and current course record holder (5:22:31, 2011). At 19, Mercer looks unstoppable, but her bid for a third straight championship might be put in question by the entry of another 19-year-old and fellow competitor on the Australian Ironman series, Miranda Davies. This is Davies’ first M2O championship. Davies has experience in the channel having recently won the Surfski Championships on the same course earlier this year.

After claiming a legendary eight M2O championships and completing 12 consecutive crossings of the Molokai Channel, Kanesa Duncan-Seraphin will be missed from this year’s race while she enjoys time as a new mom with her family.

In the stock category, look out for the following athletes:

Jack Bark, 19, Palos Verdes, CA – 2012 M2O winner and California’s top stock paddler.
Ryan Butcher, 34, South Africa – South African stock champion.
Zeb Walsh, Australia – 3rd 2012 M2O championship

Eric Terrien, 31, Spain – Spain’s top distance paddler.
Riggs Napoleon, 16, Hawaii – Riggs is the youngest person to ever complete the channel solo on any craft at age 12. He has matured and will definitely be a contender.
Andrew Logreco, 28, Hawaii – Former stock record holder.
Rachel Bruntsch 29, Hawaii – Current women’s SUP stock record holder (5:49:10).

Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championships Valued Partners
The organizers and athletes of the Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championship, presented by Kona Longboard Island Lager, thank the event’s valued partners for making the annual race possible (alphabetically): Dukes, Futures, Garmin, GoPro, Kona Longboard Island Lager, Lifeproof, Maui Jim, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, Patagonia, Pflueger Honda, Rogue SUP, Standup Paddle Magazine, Teva and Watermans Applied Science.

M20 paddleboard

About the Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championships

Founded in 1997, the Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championships, presented by Kona Longboard Island Lager, is set to celebrate its 17th anniversary on Sunday, July 28, 2013. M2O has grown from a grassroots challenge for the legendary lifeguards and watermen of Oahu to the premiere event for the sport of paddleboarding, annually crowning world champions in the two disciplines of traditional (prone) and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). The fastest athletes complete the crossing in less than five hours, which begins on Kaluakoi Beach on the north shore of Molokai and finishes in Maunalua Bay on the south shore of Oahu.

Hawai‘i Island Beacon Community Achieves Standout Health Care Improvements on the Big Island

84 Percent of Primary Care Physicians Now Using Certified Electronic Health Records

Three years after entering into a $16.1 million cooperative agreement with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), the Hawai‘i Island Beacon Community (HIBC) reports significant achievements in the use of innovative technology to improve the quality of patient care in Hawai‘i County. As one of the most rural and geographically isolated of the 17 Beacon Communities and in the face of unique challenges – geographic distances, diverse populations, and limited health care resources – HIBC is making improvements toward better health, better care and lower costs.

Beacon CommunityAccording to HIBC’s database, 84 percent of primary care providers have adopted certified electronic health records (EHR) in Hawai‘i County. Use of certified EHRs qualify primary care providers on the island for financial incentives from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid through achievement of the first stage of Meaningful Use of their EHR software.

HIBC facilitated the first functioning regional health information exchange (HIE) on Hawai‘i Island. The North Hawai‘i HIE connects a variety of clinical data sources to the Alere Accountable Care Services platform. Staff at North Hawai‘i Community Hospital and physicians practicing in North Hawai‘i can now access the same data and share information through a secure messaging system for more efficient clinical decision making and communication.

“These achievements have laid the foundation for readiness to operate in a changing health care environment,” said Susan B. Hunt, M.H.A., project director and CEO of HIBC. “Our providers on Hawai‘i Island are among the nation’s early adopters of best practices in health IT supported care delivery transformation. According to SK&A Research, close to 40 percent of our primary care providers have achieved Stage 1 Meaningful Use of their EHRs. We have made a remarkable journey in three years. Thanks to the commitment of local leaders, our health care system IT infrastructure is steadily advancing.”

Primary care practices are proactively managing the health of their patient populations by using EHRs and other forms of health IT to implement quality improvement activities, engage patients in care decisions and improve efficiency in coordinating care and services. Nineteen primary care practices serving approximately 20,000 patients achieved Patient Centered Medical Home status. To achieve this status, they completed a 12-month training program offered through TransforMED, a subsidiary of the American Academy of Family Physicians and were supported in this effort through the partnership of HIBC, the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii and the Hawai‘i Medical Service Association (HMSA).

HIBC is reducing barriers to care caused by geography and provider shortages by bringing telehealth technology to physicians’ offices and patients’ homes through partnerships with the Retina Institute of Hawaii and Hawaii Island Care Coordination Services. Advanced retinal screening devices and the cutting-edge iHealthHome® system have enabled more frequent monitoring and/or screening of patients for chronic disease management and intervention.

More than 500 patients with complex care needs enrolled in HIBC’s Care Coordination and Care Transitions initiatives throughout Hawai‘i County, including Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations at greater risk for chronic illness. The initiatives involved programs that test new ways to manage these illnesses. Through innovative and culturally appropriate approaches to care, these patients have made significant improvements in controlling blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. HIBC’s partners in this effort include Bay Clinic, Hamakua Health Center, West Hawaii Community Health Center, Hilo Medical Center, Kona Community Hospital, North Hawaii Community Hospital, the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii, Hui Mālama Ola Nā ‘Ōiwi, and Hawaii Island Care Coordination Services.

In addition, HIBC’s Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) program – endorsed by the Office of the Mayor for the County of Hawai‘i – funded community-based wellness projects for approximately 2,000 island residents.

“HIBC has done a tremendous job in bringing key stakeholders to the table,” said Sharon Vitousek, M.D., board president for HIBC. “Island-wide collaboration, partnerships between providers and community organizations, and showcasing Hawai‘i Island as an innovator on a national level – it’s something to be proud of and we have laid a solid foundation for a better health care system today and in the long run.”

HIBC’s federal cooperative agreement officially ends on Sept. 30, 2013. However, a great deal of interest remains in continuing the work that has been started by the participants in the project. HIBC stakeholders have committed to continuing to collaborate on further health care improvements for Hawai‘i Island.