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Damien Memorial Sex Abuse Survivors to Be Compensated – Christian Brothers File for Bankruptcy

The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors for The Christian Brothers Institute and The Christian Brothers of Ireland, Inc. have approved the terms and conditions of a consensual reorganization plan filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York in the Chapter 11 cases of The Christian Brothers Institute and The Christian Brothers of Ireland, Inc.

The religious order filed for bankruptcy on April 28, 2011 and a plan has now been submitted for reorganization that includes compensation to victims of abuse and powerful non-monetary sanctions providing for additional safety within the organization.

As part of the reorganization plan, the Irish Christian Brothers have agreed to independent reviews of files and protocols.  The provincial leadership team also agrees to meet with sexual abuse survivors and release the names of multiple alleged abusers.

Damien Memorial High School

Damien Memorial High School

Some of the schools affected by the Irish Christian Brothers bankruptcy include Damien Memorial High School in Honolulu, Hawaii; Palma High School in Salinas, CA; Brother Rice High School in Chicago, IL; Leo High School in Chicago, IL; St. Laurence High School in Burbank, IL; Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell, NJ and Essex High School (Bishop Francis) in East Orange, NJ.

“We’ve had a chance to work with many courageous survivors and hopefully this will bring some relief to each of those who have participated,” said Attorney Jeff Anderson of the St. Paul, Minnesota-based law office of Jeff Anderson & Associates who represents 92 survivors in the bankruptcy case. He continued, “Most importantly, it has brought to this organization a level of transparency and accountability that it has never known. We are inspired and grateful to those who have bravely stepped forward during this process and because of their actions others in the future are better protected.”

Over 400 survivors of sexual abuse are included in the group of unsecured creditors that will share in a financial settlement in excess of $16.5 million dollars, an amount that will be paid by the province and some insurance carriers.

A copy of the proposed Plan of Reorganization along with a complete list of schools and clerics associated with the Irish Christian Brothers can be found at www.christianbrotherabuse.com.


Hawaii Tourism Authority – 2013 Tourism Legacy Awards

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), the state’s tourism agency, presented The Merrie Monarch Festival, Polynesian Cultural Center and Hilo Hattie with its 2013 Tourism Legacy Awards during the 2013 Hawai‘i Tourism Conference Legacy Awards Luncheon Thursday at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. All celebrating 50th anniversaries this year, the 2013 recipients are recognized for their long histories of perpetuating the Hawaiian culture and sustaining a “legacy of aloha” that makes Hawai‘i a special place to live and visit.

“We are proud to recognize The Merrie Monarch Festival, Polynesian Cultural Center and Hilo Hattie for their commitment and dedication in preserving and promoting our Hawaiian culture and history for the past 50 years,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. “Their legacies celebrate our unique people, place and culture that make our destination unlike anywhere else in the world. Congratulations and mahalo to this year’s honorees.”

The HTA’s 2013 Tourism Legacy Awards honorees were:

  • The Merrie Monach Festival is a nonprofit organization that honors the legacy of King David Kalākaua, who inspired the perpetuation of traditions, Hawaiian language and the arts.
    Photo from the Merrie Monarch Site

    Photo from the Merrie Monarch Site

    The week-long festival features an internationally acclaimed hula competition, an invitational craft fair, an art show, hula shows and a grand parade through Hilo town. The event draws nearly 10,000 visitors to the island of Hawai‘i each year. The festival is the focal point and catalyst that supports and draws an extensive network of instructional hula schools, masters, instructors, researchers and students of all ages who are committed to the perpetuation of the Hawaiian culture. The proceeds from the festival support educational scholarships, workshops, seminars, symposiums and the continuation of the festival into the future.

  • The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) opened its doors 50 years ago this fall in an effort to preserve and perpetuate the host culture of Hawai‘i and all of Polynesia. PCCSince then, PCC has welcomed more than 37-million guests, providing fun and engaging opportunities to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Polynesian people, their language, food, music, song and dance. Representing the islands of Hawai‘i, Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Rapa Nui (Easter Island), PCC inspires us to celebrate the differences of each culture as well as the similarities that connect us as Polynesians and to the rest of the world.
  • Hilo Hattie,” Clarissa “Clara” Haili, was known for her true aloha spirit and began her career as a school teacher who sang and danced her way into modern history.
     Hula dance Clara Inter / Hilo Hattie, Kodak Hula Show, Waikiki. The dance is "The Cock-eyed Mayor of Kaunakakai." The horse's name is "Kiele."  Photo Hawaii State Archives Circa 1937

    Hula dance Clara Inter / Hilo Hattie, Kodak Hula Show, Waikiki.
    The dance is “The Cock-eyed Mayor of Kaunakakai.” The horse’s name is “Kiele.” Photo Hawaii State Archives Circa 1937

    She popularized the comic hula style with such tunes as “When Hilo Hattie Does the Hula Hop” and “The Cockeyed Mayor of Kaunakakai.” She legally changed her name to “Hilo Hattie” in 1942, and became a household name in Hawai‘i and across the nation as “Hawai‘i’s Ambassador of Goodwill.” In 1963, Hilo Hattie opened its first store on the island of Kaua‘i, which has grown into a chain of seven stores across the Hawaiian Islands. The success of Hilo Hattie, “The Store of Hawai‘i” comes from their employees who are dedicated to providing that sense of aloha the world came to know in Hilo Hattie, the person. Clara “Hilo Hattie” Nelson passed away in 1979, leaving behind a legacy carried on by Hilo Hattie, “The Store of Hawai‘i.”

The Tourism Legacy Awards, evolving from the “Keep it Hawai‘i” program, was established by the HTA to honor individuals, organizations and businesses that perpetuate the Hawaiian culture and traditions. Honorees have worked diligently to nurture the host culture creating respectful and authentic visitor experiences while securing bonds between the visitor industry and the Hawaiian community. Previous honorees included the late Dr. George Kanahele, Daughters of Hawai‘i and the Bishop Museum.

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority is a state agency established by law in 1998 to ensure a successful visitor industry and tourism economy in the state of Hawai‘i. As the state’s tourism authority, its mission is to strategically manage tourism to optimize benefits for Hawai‘i, integrating the interests of visitors, the community and visitor industry. Through the implementation of the statewide Hawai‘i Tourism Strategic Plan and HTA’s own strategic plan, the authority works to direct Hawai‘i tourism in a sustainable manner consistent with our economic goals, cultural values, preservation of natural resources, community desires, and visitor industry needs. For more information on the HTA, please visit www.hawaiitourismauthority.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

U.S. Military Will Remain Strong Despite Budget Cuts, Hagel Tells Hawaii Marines

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel assured Marines and sailors in Hawaii today that despite deep budget and force cuts, the U.S. military will remain the world’s best, and the nation will honor the commitments it has made to them.

Photo via @USPacificCommand on Twitter

Commander of the Pacific Command Admiral Locklear greets Secretary of Defense Hagel upon arrival in Hawaii.  Photo via @USPacificCommand on Twitter

Hagel kicked off a four-nation trip to Southeast Asia with a troop talk at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.

The secretary told the service members they are an integral to the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, and he recognized the pivotal role they play in strengthening alliances and partnerships across the region.

“You are at the cutting edge of security, of stability and prosperity,” he told the assembled group. “You are all a part of it, at the front end of it, the cutting edge of it. And what you do and how you do it is particularly important as to how the world sees America and how they view our interests, but probably more importantly, how they view our intentions.”

When the secretary opened the floor to questions, he was asked about the impact of budget reductions and sequestration on military readiness and credibility and retirement and educational benefits.

Hagel said he and other Defense Department leaders have been honest and direct with Congress and the American people about the national security implications of large budget cuts.

He expressed concern about the size of the budget and force reductions and uncertainty about future funding levels. These factors, and the speed with which cuts are taking place, give the DOD leaders “very little flexibility in the tough decisions that are going to have to be made,” he said.

Even with these challenges, the secretary emphasized that the U.S. military remains the world’s best.

“Even with these cuts – and they are severe, and they may be even more severe – there is no question that America has the most significant military capability in the world,” he assured the service members.

“There is no military even close to this military,” he said, a point he said the United States has made its friends, allies and adversaries alike.

“We are not without resources. We are not without capability,” Hagel said. “You can measure that by any metric,” most notably by the men and women in uniform.

“You are the best-trained, the smartest, the best-led, most professional military force this country has ever had,” Hagel told the group. He lauded the noncommissioned officer corps that he said stands head and shoulders above all others. “No other armed force in the world, no one is even close to having an enlisted NCO corps like we have in our institution,” he said.

The secretary also noted the U.S. military’s technological superiority and a budget, that even with deep reductions, remains sizeable.

“When you look at the balance sheet here, we are going to be the best, most capable, strongest military force in the world for a long time to come,” he said.

Strategic choices being made today will help ensure that continues into the future, Hagel said.

“I think this is going to make you stronger,” he said, expressing confidence in America’s people, its values and its military. “We will come out of this stronger than we went in,” he said.

Asked about the future of military retirement benefits, Hagel acknowledged that the current path is fiscally unsustainable for the long term.

“That doesn’t mean we are going to cut off retirement benefits,” he made clear. “For all of you, when you retire, your benefits should not be impacted by whatever tough choices we are going to have to make.”

Hagel said he would not “play games” and tell service members that the benefits will increase. “They probably aren’t going to increase,” he said. “But you are not going to be hurt.”

Minor adjustments may be required in areas such as TRICARE premiums for retired military members, he said. “If we make some adjustments now and we are smart, then we can adjust what we need to adjust and assure that the benefits that you have earned, that we promised, are going to be there,” he said.

Asked by a Marine about Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits, the secretary, who cosponsored the enacting legislation while serving in the Senate, said he will fight to keep it intact.

“It’s the right thing to do for our people…It is a smart investment in our country, a smart investment in you and your families,” he said. “Education cannot be disconnected from security [and] from the future of our country. So we will do everything we can to protect [it].”

Hagel will continue his Southeast Asia trip tomorrow, with stops scheduled in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines.


3.1 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes the Big Island Last Night

A 3.1 magnitude earthquake was registered last night in Pahala on the Big Island and no tsunami was generated from it:

31 Pahala 2