4th Annual Lifeplan Youth Summit Reaches 1,000 Kids Since 2010

On July 5, 2013, a group of 39 young people and 35 adults took part in the 4th Annual Lifeplan Youth Summit, hosted by the Hualālai ‘Ohana Foundation and Four Seasons Resort Hualālai.

Youth leaders working in the classrooms at Kealakehe High School were recognized at the 4th Annual Lifeplan Youth Summit.  L to R,Tumama Tupuola, Taylor Donager, Sophie Balanay, Jordan Orr, Jeremy Gambing, Kasala Vailea, Kawena Case, Lei Cox, Mina Agdeppa, Sarah Barry, Tiffany Kurozawa.

Youth leaders working in the classrooms at Kealakehe High School were recognized at the 4th Annual Lifeplan Youth Summit. L to R,Tumama Tupuola, Taylor Donager, Sophie Balanay, Jordan Orr, Jeremy Gambing, Kasala Vailea, Kawena Case, Lei Cox, Mina Agdeppa, Sarah Barry, Tiffany Kurozawa.

The Summit recognized an important milestone in Lifeplan Institute Hawai‘i Island’s accomplishments, having assisted over 1,000 youth from North Kohala to North Kona since 2010.  Events of the day included training workshops, presentation of leadership, volunteers and excellence awards, career speakers and a vigorous round of laser tag.

“This was a great day of learning and connection for both mentors and youth,” said Lifeplan mentor Robin Mullin, Executive Director of Five Mountains Hawai‘i. “The presentations from Drs. Jim and Lee Kooler, Kealakehehe Principal, Wil Murakami, and Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth inspired us to continue evolving the program.”

Lifeplan is a creative youth mentoring program, which grew from the central Lifeplan Institute, founded by Dr. Andrew Mecca. Lifeplan’s main tool is the Lifeplan itself, a kind of map or strategic plotline, referred to as “a journey of choices, decisions and consequences.”

In plotting their Lifeplan, youth and mentors engage to set goals, determine a course, gather a support group, avoid pitfalls and achieve success in stages. Goals are not strictly career-driven, but include education, relationships, health, and personal growth.

Many of the youth and mentors recognized at the summit are part of an ongoing project with Kealakehe High School, wherein volunteer mentors and upper classmen youth leaders ‘adopt’ the 16 classrooms of freshmen to help facilitate the Lifeplan program. Mentors and youth leaders work closely with the teachers to help the students navigate their high school years. Several mentors have committed to staying with the classrooms all the way to graduation.

“We are very grateful to Kealakehe principal Wil Murakami and to Superintendent Art Souza for supporting the Lifeplan programs in the schools,” said Kei-Lin Cerf, Executive Director of Hualālai ‘Ohana Foundation. “Without their guidance and support, the program would not be as successful as it is today.”

Hualālai ‘Ohana Foundation hosts the Annual Youth Summit and runs the program at Kealakehe High School, with mentors from Four Seasons Resort Hualālai, Hualālai Resort and other members of the community.

“We believe in the power of the community to help support and educate our Hawaii Island youth. It is our shared responsibility to prepare our youth for the future and keep our community healthy, strong, and ready,” said Kei-Lin Cerf.

Lifeplan Institute Hawai‘i Island continues to evolve. A sponsored program of Five Mountains Hawaii since 2010, a new fiscal sponsor and funding are now needed to expand the program in North Hawai‘i. For more information about opportunities to help, supporters are welcome to call Robin Mullin at 887-1284 or email rmullin@fivemountains.org.

In West Hawai‘i at Kealakehe High School, more community mentors are needed to support the Lifeplan program for the next set of 300+ freshmen. No special experience is required, and training is provided by the Hualālai ‘Ohana Foundation.  For more information, please call Kei-Lin Cerf at 325-4701, or email klcerf@ohanafoundation.com.


Huge Fish Capsizes Boat Off Kauai

A 54-year-old man was rescued from his capsized vessel approximately 10 miles southwest of Port Allen, Kauai, Friday.

A huge fish capsized this boat. Coast Guard rescuers were able to upright the boat.

A huge fish capsized this boat. Coast Guard rescuers were able to upright the boat.

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received a distress call at 7:41 a.m., from Wichman’s spouse notifying watchstanders that her husband’s 14-foot Livingston boat was capsized south of Port Allen. Wichman was fishing in the area when he hooked a 230 lb. Ahi that subsequently capsized his boat. When his boat capsized, his leg was caught in the fishing line and he was dragged underwater. After freeing himself, he was able to get on top of the hull and call his wife for help. Sector Honolulu was able to establish communication with Wichman via cell phone and launched a 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from Coast Guard Station Kauai and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point to the scene.

The Dolphin crew arrived on scene and found Wichman sitting on the hull of his partially submerged vessel. A Coast Guard rescue swimmer was lowered to the water and hoisted Wichman into the helicopter. Sector Honolulu and Station Kauai coordinated with Lihue Airport and local emergency medical personnel to arrange for medical transport to Wilcox Memorial Hospital.

The MLB crew stayed on scene with the capsized vessel until Jordon Ornellas and Abraham Apilado, friends of Wichman arrived on scene with a vessel to help salvage his boat. While assessing the situation to determine if they could right the capsized vessel, Ornellas and Apilado realized that the Ahi was still hooked on the fishing line attached the vessel. They were able to reel in the Ahi, right the vessel and take it in tow back to Port Allen.

The fish that didn't get away!

The fish that didn’t get away!

“This rescue is a perfect example of why mariners must be sure they have good safety equipment and reliable communications before heading out on the water,” said Lt. Jessica Mickelson, Sector Honolulu’s Public Affairs Officer.  “Thankfully Mr. Wichman was still able to use his cell phone after capsizing and entering the water. Sector Honolulu was able to work in conjunction with 911 dispatch to get a GPS position of the capsized vessel from Mr. Wichman’s cell phone enabling Coast Guard rescue crews to arrive on scene at the exact location of distress instead of having to conduct a search. At the end of the day, we couldn’t have asked for a better rescue. Mr. Wichman was delivered safely to shore with minimal injuries and he and his friends will have quite the indisputable fish tale to tell.”

The Coast Guard recommends all mariners ensure they are prepared before heading out on the water. This includes having appropriate safety and communications equipment, checking local weather conditions and ensuring the vessel is seaworthy. For more information on boating safety visit www.uscgboating.org.

For more information, contact the 14th Coast Guard District Public Affairs Office at (808) 535-3230.

Commentary – Richard Ha on Bill 79, the Anti-GMO Bill

Click to read Richard's Blog on this

Click to read Richard’s Blog on this

Dear Editor,

Bill 79, the anti-GMO bill, has brought out a lot of concern and a lot of anxiety.

I say that we need to slow down. It would be premature to rush into a decision on this bill without taking the time to hear everybody’s input and address all the issues on the table.

Before we make big decisions – any of which could have unintended consequences – we should set up some sort of task force to look at the bigger picture of Hawai‘i’s self-sufficiency, and how we are going to achieve that.

How are we going to get there, all of us together? We need to end up at a place where we aloha each other, and take care of everybody.

Let’s not rush to pass this bill without fully understanding the bigger picture.

Richard Ha

Owner, Hamakua Springs Country Farms


“Al Capone” Arrested on the Big Island for Wednesday’s Carjacking Incident

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged the man arrested in connection with a carjacking Wednesday night (July 17).


Alkapone Cruz-Balles

Alkapone Cruz-Balles, 19, who has no permanent address, was charged at 4:25 p.m. Friday (July 19) with first-degree robbery and unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.

He is being held at the Hilo police cellblock in lieu of $12,000 bail pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday (July 22).


Hawaiian Songwriting Retreat August 2-4, 2013

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is offering a three-day Hawaiian music songwriting retreat for just $25, from Friday, Aug. 2 through Sunday, Aug. 4 with Hawaiian music, language and haku mele (Hawaiian song) experts Kenneth Makuakāne and Kaliko Trapp-Beamer.

Kenneth Makuakane

Kenneth Makuakane

The Friday, Aug. 2 workshop runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 3 and Sun., Aug. 4 both begin at 8 a.m. and finish at 4 p.m.

Advance registration required. To register, contact Elizabeth Bell at (808) 985-6019 or email Elizabeth_bell@nps.gov no later than July 25.

The retreat will be held in the park at the summit of Kīlauea. Budding songwriters will find inspiration in this wahi kapu (sacred place), among the towering koa and ‘ōhi‘a lehua trees, over fields of ropy pāhoehoe lava, and in the awe-inspiring eruptive glow from Halema‘uma‘u Crater.

Also inspirational are the retreat’s accomplished teachers. Kenneth Makuakāne is a multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano award winner, along with his group, The Pandanus Club. He’s a prolific songwriter (1,500-plus songs), producer of more than 100 albums, and collaborator who has worked with virtually all of the stars of Hawaiian music over the years.

Kaliko was raised as the hānai son of Hawaiian cultural expert Aunty Nona Beamer (1923-2008), learning Hawaiian chant, storytelling, traditional protocol, family songs, and stories. He currently teaches Hawaiian language courses at the University of Hawai‘i in Hilo, and helps coordinate the Beamer Family Aloha Music Camp. He is the President of the Mohala Hou Foundation dedicated to “preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian culture through education and the arts.”

The three-day Hawaiian songwriting retreat is sponsored by Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association.


Mothers Against Drunk Driving Hosting “Community Power Night”

Underage drinking is not “somebody’s” problem.  It’s everybody’s problem.  The cost in dollars, nationwide, is enormous at $62 billion, but the cost in heartbreak and family crisis are much higher. The Hawai‘i Island chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is doing its best to prevent underage drinking, by hosting a “Community Power Night,” Friday, August 9, 2013, 5:30-8:00 p.m. at the YWCA in Hilo.

With separate tracks for adults, teens and young children, the Community Power Night is designed to share information and alternatives from a broad range of organizations and individuals. The event is free and complimentary pupus are provided, along with a parenting workshop, youth leadership and expression, and group support. For young children, facepainting, crafts and storytelling activities will be shared.

“For youth, we want to create an environment where they feel free to express themselves and their ideas about drugs and alcohol,” said Aaron Collins, Program Coordinator for Hawai‘i Island MADD.  “We also have MADD’s ‘Power of Parenting’ workshop and different resources to help parents, and possibly enlighten them about how positive parenting contributes to good choices,” said Collins.  “We aren’t here to lecture, but to start a discussion, and our handbook with facts and information.”

Collins said that all kinds of community organizations are more than welcome to join in the free event, as well as service providers, support groups, resources for family strengthening and healthy alternatives to drug and alcohol use.  “MADD offers a 30-minute workshop and we wanted to give something more, not just information about drugs and alcohol, but about positive alternatives that are available in the community for kids.”

Representatives from BJ Penn Training and Fitness Center, Big Island Cheer, Boys and Girls Clubs and others will be on hand to share information.  The event is free and a great selection of doorprizes will be awarded, including gift certificates, ‘ukulele, gym memberships, health products, and more.  For more information about the Community Power Night, or MADD Hawai‘i Island, contact Aaron Collins at 808-934-0300 or aaron.collins@madd.org.

Five Mountains Hawaii

The North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition, a project of Five Mountains Hawai‘i, is a regional volunteer organization committed to developing strong, sustaining relationships for Healthy Communities Choosing to Live Drug Free. For more information, visit www.fivemountains.org/nhdfc.

Governor Releases $12.7 Million for State Facilities – Kulani Prison Receives $650,000

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $12.7 million for capital improvement projects (CIPs) ranging from priority work at state health centers and correctional facilities, to upgrades for Hawaii’s statewide data network.

Kulani Correctional Center received $650,000

Kulani Correctional Center received $650,000

“These projects will provide an immediate return in terms of jobs and boosting our economy, while delivering long-term benefits by improving our facilities and data network infrastructure,” Gov. Abercrombie said.

Allotment of funds for the following priority projects, identified by members of the state Legislature, has been approved by the Governor:

$9,423,000 – Department of Health Waimano Ridge Buildings and Site Improvements, Oahu – Design and construction to convert the former hospital and buildings at Waimano Ridge into office space for staff displaced from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) Building and Ala Moana Health Center (The AAFES building was recently transferred to OHA, and DOH intends to transfer 325 employees from the Environmental Health Administration – 260 from AAFES and 65 from the Ala Moana Health Center – to various facilities at Waimano Ridge and the Halawa Vector Control facility)

$364,000 – Department of Health Facilities, statewide – Additional design for health and safety improvement projects at various DOH facilities, including Lihue Health Center on Kauai; Diamond Head, Lanakila, Leeward Health, and Windward Health Centers on Oahu; Maui District Health Office and Wailuku Health Center on Maui; and Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center on Hawaii Island

$1,000,000 – Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC), Oahu – Removal and replacement of refrigerated and frozen food storage facilities in OCCC’s main kitchen area (Due to normal wear and tear, the customized refrigeration boxes need to be rebuilt, and refrigeration systems need to be replaced)

$369,000 – Waiawa Correctional Facility, Oahu – Design and construction to replace malfunctioning boiler systems at the KASHBOX buildings (KASHBOX, which stands for Knowledge, Attitudes, Skills, Habits, Behaviors, Opinions, and the X – or unknown factor, is a substance abuse treatment program that occupies 240 of the facility’s 334 beds)

$650,000 – Kulani Correctional Facility, Hawaii Island – Reconstructing the controlled entryway/detention recreation yard, replacing the existing furnace for the detention cells, relocating the dental office, and various electrical upgrades (The renovations and improvements are needed to ensure the facility is suitable for a projected 200 inmates and that current code requirements are met; the facility was formerly occupied by the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Academy)

$386,544 – Financial Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System, statewide – Design, development and implementation of a network infrastructure to support the additional data traffic flows, capacity, security and redundancy required to improve the state’s information technology environment

$246,942 – Financial Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System, statewide – Planning to explore available options for a public-private partnership alternative that could reduce the upfront costs and time required to acquire the new state data centers

$200,000 – Kalanimoku Building Data Center Optimization and Energy Efficiency, Oahu – Planning for the data center optimization and energy efficiency improvement project (The project will optimize the functionality and increase energy efficiency within the Information and Communications Services Division facility)

$109,650 – Aiea Public Library, Oahu – Additional construction for a replacement facility for the library on the site of the former Aiea Sugar Mill (The library serves the Aiea, Halawa, Waiau, Pearlridge , Newtown, and Royal Summit communities)

Pahoa and Keaau Elementary Schools Selected for Pilot Project – Every Student and Teacher to Receive Tablet or Laptop

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is pleased to announce the eight school-applicants that have been selected for the Common Core Digital Curriculum Pilot Project (CCDC) in the upcoming 2013-14 school year.

Laptops and PadsThe eight schools were selected based on their technological readiness, commitment to integrating technology in the classroom and readiness to implement a large schoolwide project. The schools are:

  • Keaau Elementary
  • Mililani Mauka Elementary
  • Mililani Waena Elementary
  • Moanalua Middle
  • Nanaikapono Elementary
  • Nanakuli Elementary
  • Nanakuli Intermediate and High
  • Pahoa Elementary

The CCDC pilot aims to support schools’ implementation of new digital curricula aligned with the Common Core State Standards, which are new learning standards for English language arts and math. The eight schools will receive a tablet or laptop for every student and teacher, as well as new curriculum and training on Google Apps for Education. Following teacher training, Keaau and Pahoa elementary schools will be the first to receive their devices during the first semester. The remaining schools will receive their devices in early 2014.

“The introduction of both the CCDC along with the Common Core State Standards in our schools helps set a high standard for student achievement, and pushes our efforts even further in preparing our students for post-secondary success,” stated State Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

The Common Core Digital Curriculum Pilot Project builds on the successful work of a handful of Hawaii schools that are using devices. At Keaau Elementary, which has been providing devices to students for two years, there has been a significant difference in the classroom dynamics due to digital devices.

“The use of digital devices in our school has been a tremendous help in accelerating our students’ love of learning, which translates into higher test scores and better attendance,” said Keaau Elementary Principal Chad Keone Farias. “We’ve surpassed the state average in math and are on par with the state average in reading, which is a huge improvement over the last few years.”

Data collected from the first phase of the initiative will include student and teacher use, formative assessments and student engagement. The CCDC project takes advantage of ongoing DOE efforts to introduce new technology for learning and expand the DOE’s broadband infrastructure while bringing 21st century learning to the classroom. It also supports the goals outlined in the 2011-2018 DOE and Board of Education Strategic Plan. The 2013 Legislature appropriated $8 million to this pilot effort.

“We appreciate Governor Abercrombie and the Legislature’s support in our efforts and congratulate the schools that took the initiative to apply for this important pilot program,” said BOE Chair Don Horner.

To learn more about the Department’s Strategic Plan for student success please visit www.hawaiipublicschools.org.