Commentary – Aaron Stene On the New Daniel K. Inouye Highway

The Central Federal Lands Highway Division and Hawaii Department of Transportation, among others, should be commended for their efforts to improve Saddle Road. The recently opened segment between m.m 41 and m.m 51.27, along with the previous phases (m.m 11 and m.m 41), is a huge improvement over the old Saddle Road.

The Daniel K. Inouye Highway opened this weekend.  Photo by Aaron Stene

The Daniel K. Inouye Highway opened this weekend. Photo by Aaron Stene

The latter roadway was riddled with potholes and serious design deficiencies, which caused an immeasurable number of accidents and fatalities.  In addition, the realignment and reconstruction of Saddle Road to a full fledged highway has resulted in a huge time savings in commute times.

I was able to drive between m.m six (top of Puainako Extension) and m.m 51.27 on the Kona side in 56 minutes. My overall time savings was about 26 minutes, so I can’t wait until the last east side Saddle Road phase is complete. It will reduce commute times even more.

Photo by Aaron Stene

Photo by Aaron Stene

I know there is challenges acquiring the right of way for the final SR200(3) phase. However, I’m confident these challenges will be overcome. It is imperative that Senator Dan Inouye’s legacy project is finished.

Aaron Stene

Kailua-Kona

Public School Parents Encouraged to Complete Federal Census Survey Cards

Parents of Hawaii public school students are encouraged to complete and return to their school a federal census survey card that was sent home on Sept. 4.

The annual survey determines the number of federally connected students in the public school system for whom the state receives impact aid funds. These funds provide partial reimbursement to the state for local tax loss resulting from tax-free federal installations.

“Federal impact funds are critical to support our students, educators and the overall operation of our schools,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “All parents are encouraged to complete and return the cards.”

School Funding
During the 2011-12 school year, the state accounted for more than 30,000 federally connected students and received more than $80 million – or an average of nearly $2,700 per student – in federal impact aid the following school year. The amount represents about 20 percent of the state’s average per-pupil expenditure.

Parents should contact their school in case they have not yet received a survey card. Cards should be filled out and turned in as soon as possible, ideally by September. However, schools will accept the cards throughout the school year.

 

Saddle Road Renamed “Daniel K. Inouye Highway,” Realignment To Mamalahoa Highway Opens

On what would have been the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s 89th birthday, a highway named in his honor has opened to bridge East and West Hawaii.

2013_09_07_Daniel_K_Inouye_Highway_02 Mrs. Irene Inouye, Governor Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi dedicate the former Saddle Road as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

Mrs. Irene Inouye, Governor Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi
dedicate the former Saddle Road as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (DOT) today opened the newest section of the former Hawaii Saddle Road, a nine-mile portion from Mile Post 42 to the Mamalahoa Highway (Route 190), which also marked the completion of 41 miles of highway built since the project started construction in 2004.

In honor of Sen. Inouye’s vision and dedication to the project, the 2013 Hawaii Legislature passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 43 to rename the 41-mile upgraded section of Hawaii Saddle Road to the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Highway. Gov. Neil Abercrombie joined members of the Inouye family, former colleagues, and other government officials at the opening and renaming ceremony.

“We have come this far due to the vision Senator Inouye shared with the project’s many partners, including the Saddle Road Task Force, Hawaii Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, and Department of the Army,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “Once one of the most precarious highways in the state, the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Highway is now a safer and more efficient travel route connecting East and West Hawaii communities.”

To date, $290 million dollars has been awarded for construction from federal, state, Department of the Army and other sources.

“During his lifetime, Senator Inouye made incredible contributions to this country and the state of Hawaii, we are honored and pleased that this vital connector for Hawaii Island will carry his name,” said DOT Director Glenn M. Okimoto.

Senator Daniel K. Inouye was an early advocate for rebuilding Saddle Road. He convened a diverse group of cross-island stakeholders as the Saddle Road Task Force.  The Saddle Road Task Force is made up of a dedicated and diverse group of community members who continue to work as liaisons as this project moves towards completion.

Governor Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi, Mrs. Irene Inouye, and members of the Saddle Road Task Force assist in dedicating the new segment of the former Saddle Road, a nine-mile stretch linking Mile Post 42 to Mamalahoa Highway (Route 190).

Governor Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi, Mrs. Irene Inouye, and members of the Saddle Road Task Force assist in dedicating the new segment of the former Saddle Road, a nine-mile stretch linking Mile Post 42 to Mamalahoa Highway (Route 190).

“Needless to say, the incredible improvements to Saddle Road are the result of the vision and steadfastness of Senator Inouye,” said Saddle Road Task Force Co-Chair Walter Kunitake. “His determination never wavered, and it is absolutely fitting that this new roadway be named the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.”

The new segment of the realigned highway was opened to the public at 3 p.m.

Saddle Road Background Information

The U.S. Department of the Army constructed the original one-lane Saddle Road in 1942 to provide access to its military training facilities located in the “saddle” between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. Over the intervening years, some widening and paving was done, but no significant improvements were made – leaving many of the existing roadway deficiencies uncorrected.

What began as a military access road has since become an important cross-island connection and also provides the only paved access to the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, Pohakuloa Training Area Base, and Mauna Kea State Park, as well as access to public lands and forest areas for hunting, gathering and ranching.

Construction funding for the Saddle Road project has been made possible through the U.S. Department of the Army Defense Access Road and Ecosystem Management Programs, U.S. Congress, and Hawaii Department of Transportation. Construction of the last remaining portion of Saddle Road project on the east side will be completed as funds become available.

“Peace Week” in Honoka’a – United Nations International Day of Peace September 18th

The United Nations International Day of Peace and global ceasefire is officially September 21, but on the Big Island, Honoka‘a town celebrates peace with a week-long series of thoughtful, educational, and fun events.

Prince Dance' adds color and style to the Peace Day Parade in Honoka'a Sept. 21. Photo by Sarah Anderson for the Peace Committee

Prince Dance’ adds color and style to the Peace Day Parade in Honoka’a Sept. 21. Photo by Sarah Anderson for the Peace Committee

Sponsored by the Peace Committee of Honoka‘a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, activities for all ages include a student poster contest and gallery reception at C&J Woods, book talks, a 5K Run for Peace, meditation workshop, a large community festival with food booths, live music, magic, cirque entertainment and bon dancing.  The highlight of the day is the Peace Day Parade, now in its 7th year, starting at a new time, 4 p.m.

Also new this year is “Peace in the Streets,” produced in partnership with the Honoka‘a Business Association and Mamane Street merchants.  Happening just prior to the parade start, Peace in the Streets offers live music on four stages, a scavenger hunt through town with prizes for winners, Jump and Slide inflatable bouncer and train rides for keiki.

Special guests of the Peace Committee are members of the Sasaki ‘ohana from Japan, peace advocates related to Sadako Sasaki (“Sadako and the Thousand Cranes”), a little girl who became a peace icon after the bombing of Hiroshima.  Before she died at age 12, of radiation-caused leukemia, Sadako and her friends folded origami cranes, each with a wish for peace and healing.

Earlier this year, the Peace Committee launched the “199,000 Cranes” project, to gather 199,000 origami cranes in the next 12 months (one for each victim of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings).  In 2014, the cranes will be sent to Nagasaki and Hiroshima (to be placed with Sadako’s statue in Memorial Peace Park).

Peace Day Cranes

Peace Day Cranes

Groups and individuals committed to donating 1,000 cranes can apply for an invitation to participate in the parade at info@peacedayparade.org.   Others can volunteer to carry and display cranes during the festivities.

The 7th Annual Parade & Festival for the United Nations International Day of Peace are presented by the Peace Committee of the Honoka‘a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in cooperation with the United Nations and numerous community organizations.  The Peace Committee continues to seek additional support, and information on sponsorship, contributions (including Silent Auction items) and purchasing collectible 2013 t-shirts is available at www.PeaceDayParade.org or by email info@peacedayparade.org.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

Friday, September 13.  Deadline to enter the Student Peace Poster Contest.  All students, grades K-12 are encouraged to enter their best expression of this year’s theme: “Prepare for Peace.”

Peace

Throughout history, nations have worked hard to prepare for war, natural disasters and other emergencies—but how do people prepare for peace?  Cash prizes are awarded by grade levels, with “Best of Show” winning an overnight stay with parents at luxurious Waianuhea Bed and Breakfast in Ahualoa.  Entry forms for students and teachers available at www.peacedayparade.org.  Posters will be on display at the Peace Day Festival, where winners will be announced.

Friday, September 13. Peace Poster Gallery display reception. C&J Woods will host a reception and display of winning and other select Peace Poster Contest entries from previous years, 5-7 p.m.  Light refreshments will be served and the New Dharma Band will be performing. Various Mamane Street storefronts will also be exhibiting Peace Poster Contest entries from years past.

Sunday, September 15.  A day of “Mindfulness for Peace in Your Daily Life,” a group of meditation practitioners and leaders will introduce their different disciplines  via an engaging panel discussion, a mindful meal and small group meditation instruction and practice sessions.  The day-long workshop takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the peaceful and historical Hamakua Jodo Mission in Pa‘auhau Mauka.  Cost per person is $25 including a delicious vegetarian lunch.
In addition to the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist perspective, participating meditation leaders include:  Father Walther Dettweiler, Retired Episcopal Minister, Kamuela; Ruth Bernaert, Yoga and Meditation teacher, Ahualoa; Kathleen Golden, Vipassana Meditation teacher, Volcano; Amelia Walker, follower of Thich Nhat Hahn’s Order of Interbeing, and panelists representing other meditation perspectives to be announced.  Registration forms are available online at www.peacedayparade.org, or call 775-1064.  Advance registration is required by Friday, September 13.

Thursday, September 19.  “Read for Peace,” presented in partnership with Friends of Honoka‘a Library, takes place at 5 p.m. in the Library, with good conversation over light refreshments.  The book selection for 2013 is “Sarah’s Key,” by Tatiana de Rosnay.  Friends of the Honoka‘a Library will also generously offer an interactive book giveaway at the Peace Day Festival again this year.

Saturday, September 21, Peace Day

“Peace in the Streets.”  From 12 noon to 3:30 p.m., early birds can enjoy in-town activities all along Mamane Street, with fun activities for the whole family, a scavenger hunt with a $100 cash and other great prizes, the ZooChooTrain, Jump & Slide inflatable bouncers, continuous live music up and down the street  and more.

“Run for Peace.”  Register at 2:30 p.m. for a fun run/walk through town, just before the Parade starts.  A great way for runners to show support for Peace Day and share the experience with friends, the 5K Run for Peace route begins at Honoka‘a High and Intermediate School, takes a long loop out towards Waipi‘o Valley and back.  Cost is $25 per person which includes a Peace Day t-shirt with cash prizes to be awarded to division winners.  Entry fee will be waived for high school cross-country runners or teams can use the event for fund-raising.  For information or to register in advance, visit www.peacedayparade.org

Pictures from the 2010 Peace Day Parade

Pictures from the 2010 Peace Day Parade

PEACE DAY PARADE.  Stepping off at 4 p.m., the 7th Annual Parade for the United Nations International Day of Peace has been called a “moving stage” of music, dance and entertainment-with-a-message, as 30+ performing acts, floats, robots and special guests march, drum, dance, play and sing their way from Honoka‘a High and Intermediate School down to Mamane Street and up to the County Sports Complex.

World Peace DayThis year’s highlights include clowns, unicyclists, stilt-walkers and costumed cirque performers from Hiccup Circus, colorful Prince Dance troupe, a magician, a tribute the 75th reunion of Honokaa High School’s Class of 1938, the dynamic drums of Ryukyukoku Daiko Kohala and thousands of origami cranes to honor Sadako’s family, special guests of the Peace Committee.

PEACE DAY FESTIVAL.  From 5-8 p.m., immediately after the Parade, the Peace Day Festival fills the County Sports Complex with action, food booths, fun activities and great entertainment onstage, kicked off by the Grammy-winning Honoka‘a Jazz Band.  Rev. Kosho Yagi will start the festivities with ringing of the peace bell, followed by more music, hula, the Magic and Comedy of Bruce Meyers, the amazing tricks and talents of Hiccup Circus and more.  Family activities include ZooChooTrain rides, Jump & Slide bouncers, games, numerous food, instruction on crane folding and other craft and info booths, giveaways of bicycle safety helmets and peace books, Silent Auction to benefit the Peace Committee and a large community Bon Dance for everyone to join.  This is a drug and alcohol free event. No coolers please.

World Peace Parade

The 7th Annual Parade & Festival for the United Nations International Day of Peace are presented by the Peace Committee of the Honoka‘a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in cooperation with the United Nations and numerous community organizations.  The Peace Committee continues to seek additional support, and information on sponsorship, contributions (including Silent Auction items) and purchasing collectible 2013 t-shirts is available at www.PeaceDayParade.org or by email info@peacedayparade.org.