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Update on the HAAS School Bus Issue – Hoping to Resume Service When There is Adequate Space

On Friday August 9, Hawai’i County Council Member Greggor Ilagan facilitated a discussion regarding recent transportation challenges for students attending the Hawai’i Academy of Arts and Sciences Charter School (HAAS).

HAAS Administration Building

HAAS Administration Building

Principal Darlene Bee of Pahoa High School, Principal Steve Hirakami of HAAS, Hawai’i State Senator Russell Ruderman and State Representative Faye Hanohano were all in attendance.

Brian De Lima, Vice Chairman of the Board of Education, was unable to attend the meeting, but was available by phone. He related that he is committed to assisting with reinstating bus service to HAAS.

“We are hoping that we can administratively resume bus service when there is adequate space,” said De Lima, “I will work with the Department of Education (DOE) to re-institute bus service on existing DOE bus routes, while this rule change is being discussed.” According to De Lima, a Hawai’i Administrative Rule change may be necessary to identify transport services for charter schools under certain conditions.

“Everyone agrees that children need safe and consistent access to education,” said Council Member Ilagan, “Hopefully the current problems can be resolved quickly.”


Missing Teens Have Been Located

The missing teen, Tatiana Miller-Tayamen,  that went missing from the Hamakua Health Center and the Waikoloa missing teen, Cristilyn Guerpo, that reportedly went missing with her have been located according to folks I trust on Facebook.



Governor’s Cabinet at Kealakehe Intermediate School

Abercrombie at Kealakehe

Kailua-Kona Day Care Center License Revoked, Again

Due to continuing non-compliance with State Licensing of Group Child Care Centers and Group Child Care Homes regulatory requirements (HAR §17-892.1), the Department of Human Services (DHS) Childcare Licensing Unit has suspended the operating license of Kids Play Corner, Inc. dba Busy Buddies Hawaii, in Kailua Kona, Hawaii Island, effective Wednesday, July 3, 2013.  This is the second suspension of facility’s license this year.  The first occurred in February 2013.

Busy Buddies

The DHS Child Care Licensing Unit is responsible for ensuring the health, welfare and safety of children in licensed child care facilities.   Kid’s Play Corner, Inc., dba Busy Buddies Hawaii, first came to DHS attention in March 2009 when a Child Welfare Services (CWS) investigation confirmed that a staff member was a perpetrator of threat of abuse to a child in care at the center.  In May 2009, the DHS issued a notice to facility owners directing them to terminate employment of the staff member who was determined unsuitable to provide child care.  The individual was specifically banned from the premises during child care hours and/or when children were present.

Following the February suspension, the DHS Child Program Office offered and Busy Buddies Hawaii entered into a settlement agreement that prohibited the specific individual from stepping onto the property at any time, or directing operations and/or staff.

The July 3, 2013 license suspension occurred after the DHS received a complaint that the terms and conditions of the Settlement Agreement signed with Busy Buddies Hawaii on May 31, 2013 had been violated.  Busy Buddies Hawaii had been provisionally licensed from June 6, 2013 until September 15, 2013 for 40 children.

On July 5, 2013, Busy Buddies Hawaii co-owner Mr. Ricky Hanano, hand-delivered a letter to the DHS North Kona office saying he was voluntarily returning his operating license and that effective immediately, Busy Buddies Hawaii will not be operating a Group Child Care Center.  The DHS suspension will remain in place until the Child Care Licensing Unit completes its investigation.

Parents may contact the North Kona Child Care Licensing Office at (808) 327-4755 if they have any questions.  For parents who need to make alternative child care arrangements, DHS recommends contacting PATCH Hawaii at (808) 322-3500 for a list of child care providers in the area.


Councilwoman Wille on Killed GMO Bill

The council members generally recognized there is a need to restrict any further introduction of the GMOs here on our island offering suggestions to address those concerns. Given the current presence of some genetically modified crops here, the challenge is to move forward in a manner that is pono and  minimize the impact on those adversely affected by any restrictions.

Councilwoman Margaret Wille

Councilwoman Margaret Wille

Bill 79 was cumbersome with layers of amendments.  For this reason, I withdrew the bill in order to submit a clean, simpler version.  This “withdrawal” was simply a good procedural move, and should not be interpreted as any less resolve on my part to meaningful legislation.

One suggestion being considered is whether to set up a council ad hoc committee (comprised of up to 4 members of the council) to address related issues and how best to implement and enforce legislation. I submitted this possible format for this ad hoc committee at the August 6th council meeting in Communication.

Home rule issue:  If Hawaii County residents want to limit the spread of GMO crops and plants on this island, we need to have an ordinance in place before the end of the year.  Otherwise, we can expect the biotech companies to seek and easily lobby for passage of legislation prohibiting any county level laws that may interfere with the biotech corporate agendas (During this last legislative session, Monsanto and associates sought to pass SB727 which would have gutted county government).  For this reason any effort to postpone passage of a bill restricting GMOs beyond December 2013 is tantamount to killing the bill.

Thank you.  I do want to thank all who have submitted written or oral testimony. Just this past week I finally received all written testimony to the council for the July 2nd hearing and I have read through almost all of the 1000+ letters in support of Bill 79, and the approximate 100 opposition letters.  Prior to the August 6th hearing we again heard from many, both in support and in opposition and I have also read through this wave of emails as well.

The next GMO hearing on my successor version to Bill 79 is expected to be scheduled in Hilo for September 6th at 9:00 a.m.

Councilwoman Margaret Wille

Flags to Fly at Half-Staff in Honor of Former Rep. Robert Fukuda

As a mark of respect for the late former state Rep. Robert Kiyoshi Fukuda, Gov. Neil Abercrombie has ordered that the National Flag and Hawaii State Flag shall be flown at half-staff at all state offices and agencies as well as the Hawaii National Guard on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013, the day of his memorial service.

Click to read proclamation

Click to read proclamation

After graduating from the University of Hawaii, Fukuda worked as a Japa­nese language interpreter/translator for the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Service during World War II. For this service, he was awarded along with 6,000 Japa­nese-Americans the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.

While deputy attorney general of the Territory of Hawaii from 1953 to 1959, he also served as the attorney for the Hawaiian Homes Commission and the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. In 1959, Fukuda was elected to the House of Representatives of the first Hawaii State Legislature and served for three years. Later, he served as U.S. attorney for the state from 1969 to 1973 and went on to manage the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for Hawaii and Guam from 1982 to 1986.

Fukuda died on July 12 at age 91.

“Robert led a life dedicated to helping others,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “From his service during World War II to his role in Hawaii’s transition from territory to state, Robert took it upon himself to lift others up and succeed as the State of Hawaii took shape. He set a standard for me and for all of us in public service who followed him.”


Freaky Friday – Gecko Eats Skink

I noticed the gecko stalking something but I couldn’t figure out what it was until he caught it.  Turns out it was a baby skink!

When lizards eat lizards

When lizards eat lizards

I always thought geckos ate bugs… not other lizards!




Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park August 2013 Hawaiian Cultural & After Dark in the Park Programs

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park programs with the community and visitors in August. All programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Programs are co-sponsored by the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, and your $2 donation helps support park programs.  Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:


Kalo. The life of Hawai‘i’s indigenous people is closely linked with kalo, or the taro plant. According to the Kumulipo creation chant, kalo grew from the first-born son, Haloa. Kalo is believed to have the greatest life force of all foods and is a means of survival for Hawaiians. Join April Kekoa and Teana Kaho‘ohanohano as they share the history of kalo, plus its modern uses.  Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., Aug. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Diana Aki in Concent. The “Songbird of Miloli‘i,” Diana Aki, returns to Kīlauea with her band for an unforgettable evening of Hawaiian music. This Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning falsetto singer and ‘ukulele player is beloved by fans worldwide, and she regales audiences with her songs and storytelling. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.

When: Wed., Aug. 21 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.; doors open at 6:15 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Puna ‘Ohana Culture Day. Join local practitioners and learn the many craft uses of ti leaves. All materials will be provided. Children of all ages welcome. For more information, call (808) 985-6011. Free.

When: Sat., Aug. 24 from 10 a.m. to noon

Where: Makuu Farmer’s Market

Nā Wai Ola, The Living Waters: Harvesting the Heavens. Harvesting rainwater is a practice that has been going on for centuries all over the world. Rainwater is used for a variety of purposes, including domestic water supply. As global warming and growing populations increase the demand on our limited fresh water supplies, more and more places are turning to the ancient practice of harvesting rain. Atop Kīlauea volcano, rainwater collection is the standard way of life and is promulgated by the National Park Service.  Join University of Hawai‘i’s Trisha Macomber, author of Guidelines on Rainwater Catchment Systems for Hawai‘i,  as she presents options for insuring safe, clean drinking water for the future. Guests will receive all the FREE rainwater they can drink! Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., Aug. 27 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium


Hospice of Hilo Invites the Public to Help Celebrate 30th Anniversary

Hospice of Hilo is inviting the public to come help celebrate its 30th Anniversary with a Mahalo Party at the Prince Kuhio Plaza on Saturday August 24, from 10am to 2pm.  The event will include games and activities for the whole family, information about Hospice of Hilo, prizes, live entertainment and cake.

“The party is our humble way of thanking the community for all the trust it has given us over the years.  We truly want everyone to know we’re here for them and they don’t have to do it alone,” said Hospice of Hilo spokesperson, An Umamoto.

Hospice Thirty Years

For 30 years, Hospice of Hilo has compassionately cared for the end-of-life needs of the East and South portions of the Big Island from Laupāhoehoe to South Point, Ka‘ū.  Hospice of Hilo has grown from four volunteer staff members working out a small cottage on Waiānuenue Avenue to an organization with 84 staff members and over 200 volunteers, an office complex and the new inpatient care center, the 12 suite 14,140 sq ft Pōhai Mālama a Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Care Center, the first one of its kind on a neighbor island.   “Through all the changes over the years we’ve been able to, with the support of the community, stay anchored to our core of helping individuals and families live better through our home care program, inpatient care center, bereavement counseling and pre-hospice Transitions Program,” said Umamoto.

“Hospice of Hilo exists to serve the East Hawai‘i community, and we are so honored to have the continued support and trust of those we serve.  We would not be here today without your help and we cannot thank you enough,” said Hospice of Hilo CEO, Brenda S. Ho.

For more information, please visit, www.hospiceofhilo.org.