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Governor Works with Kauai Legislators to Address Community Concerns on Pesticides

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, together with members of the Kauai Legislative Delegation, today announced that the state would be putting forth standards and guidelines for seed/diversified agriculture companies to voluntarily comply with certain health and safety requests of the community. The guidelines will include disclosure of aggregated usage of restricted use pesticides and implementation of a setback from schools and hospitals.


“Kauai legislators and members of my administration have been discussing current issues regarding agriculture on the island of Kauai, including residents being informed about activities in their immediate area,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “We collaborated with the Kauai Delegation and farmers about taking steps to address the concerns of the community, including providing disclosure of use of pesticides and creating buffer zones around schools and hospitals. Farmers will comply on a voluntary basis with temporary standards until such time as department heads and stakeholders can develop necessary rules or legislation for next session.”

Kauai Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. and Kauai County Council Chair Jay Furfaro have been notified of these intentions.

Earlier this year, the Legislature passed House Bill 673, which the Governor in June signed into law as Act 105, requiring the state Department of Agriculture to post certain information regarding restricted use pesticides on its website. The act also requires the Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau to conduct a study on other states’ reporting requirements for non-restricted use pesticides.

“We believe that this law, in addition to existing usage requirements posted on pesticide labels, will help to address the concerns raised as they pertain to pesticide use and transparency,” Gov. Abercrombie added. “In January, we can look into codifying law regarding disclosure and setback requirements in the context of protection of public health and safety.”

The Governor also stated that he would work with the Legislature to restore positions within and seek additional funding for the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health’s Environmental Health Administration, particularly for the neighbor islands, to address pesticide compliance and conduct inspections regarding pesticide contamination, and ensure that inspections are conducted in a timely manner.


Firetruck Loses Wheel… Shuts Down Highway 130

A firetruck apparently lost its wheel and/or had some sort of a tire blowout and traffic is temporarily halted in both directions on Highway 130 between Pahoa and Leilani Estates.

Warrior 6th Graders Stun Warrior 7th Graders to Capture HI-PAL Click It or Ticket Championships

More than 80 youths from 15 teams participated in the HI-PAL Click It or Ticket 12-and-Under Hoops Championships this past weekend, September 20-22, at Waiākea Uka Gym.

The Hawaiʻi Warriors 6th Graders out-gunned the Hawaiʻi Warriors 7th graders 52-32 to claim the tournament title. Kiaʻi Apele led the champions with 16 points and Keawe Silva added 12. Randon Arima scored 10 for the runners-up.

Click It or Ticket 12-and-under champions: Hawaii Warriors 6th Graders

Click It or Ticket 12-and-under champions: Hawaii Warriors 6th Graders

Members of the championship team, as pictured, are Kiaʻi Apele, Umi Kealoha, Izayah Chartrand, Keawe Silva, Keegan Scanlan, Seshley Martinez and Kaupena Yasso.

The Keaʻau Chargers finished third, defeating the Fly Girls 43-17 behind Gabriel Bergen’s 19 points. Also participating in the event were Kohala NSP, Panaʻewa Sharpshooters, Piopio Bears, Kona Shut D I and II, Kona Stingrays, Stray Kats, Waiakea Titans, Konawaena, St. Joseph and Paiʻea.

“The goal of the tournament was remind our youth to wear their seat belts,”, said HI-PAL Officer Joseph Botelho Jr.. “We look forward to hosting future events to continue promoting seat belt use and providing safe drug free events for our youth.”

For additional information on any Click It or Ticket or HI-PAL event, please call Officer Joseph Botelho at 961-8121 or Officer Randy Morris at 326-4646, extension 258.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 17-Year-Old Volcano Girl

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Volcano girl who was reported missing.

Rosa Fonseca

Rosa Fonseca

Rosa Fonseca was last seen July 21 in Volcano. She is described as Caucasian, 4-foot-11, 110 pounds with brown eyes and long brown hair.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

A Step Away: Lake Smits Talks About New Reality Show With Jennifer Lopez

This initially ran in the HuffPost Hawaii:

I recently had the opportunity to interview former Hawaii resident Lake Smits who has really taken his dancing talents far from his days at the Hawaii 24/7 Dance Troupe.

Starting in October, he will be on a reality show that will be online called A Step Away that will be featured on NUVOtv.

Lake Smits

Lake Smits

The following is a question and answer session I had with him about the show and dancing with Jennifer Lopez:

Aloha Lake how you doing today?

I’m doing good… how you doing?

Can you tell me about the new show that you’re doing?

I’m doing a new show it’s called “A Step Away” it’s w/ the J-Lo Dancers and its pretty much a “follow-documentary” about our lives being on tour and what we did on our off days behind the stage.

When will the show actually start airing?

The show begins on October 3rd on NUVOTV at 10 pm every Thursday, it’s not available in Hawaii but you can watch it online at NUVOTV.com.

What was it like working and dancing with J-Lo?

It was amazing she’s a very nice lady, she was a dancer at one point, she’s really cool and she really had a great relationship with the dancers and it was almost like family and she really takes care of us it’s just really awesome and a great experience.

Tell me a little bit about your background and where you came from?

I started dancing when I was 12 years old, I grew up in Kaneohe of a family of five and we were all into theater growing up.

What’s your ethnicity?

I’m Filipino, White and Korean… I’m a mutt just like everybody else.

I see that you also danced for Janet Jackson. What was that like?

It was great, Michael Jackson was my idol growing up and the fact that I got to dance with his sister was a great experience and she was a nice lady.

Is dancing your full-time job now?

Dancing is now my full-time job and I reside in Los Angeles.

Do you know how or why you were selected for this new show?

This new show was something that Jennifer is the producer and she just wanted to capture the lives of the dancers and it’s never been done before and it’s a follow-doc and they just want people to see what it’s like to be a professional dancer on a world tour… This is Jennifer’s second tour but first world wide tour. The season is six episodes long so starting October 3 they will premiere the first episode.

Is there anyone that you would like to thank in particular in for your success?

There are two people that I definitely want to shout out to and that’s Ronald Bright he brought me into theater and the director of Hawaii 24/7 Dance Troupe Marcelo Pacleb who trained me in my dancing and helped me to become the dancer that I am. Without those two… I wouldn’t be the man that I am today.

Do you have any words of advice for kids who may want to become a professional dancer?

If you want to be a professional dancer work hard and start young because it’s a short-lived career, so if you are truly passionate about work hard now so that when it comes time to audition and move up… you will be ready.

Is there a way to follow you on social media?

You can follow me at @Lakey_Boy on Twitter or @Lakey_Boy on Instagram.

Mexican-Origin Residents of Hawaiʻi Fare Better than Mexican Counterparts on Mainland, But Less Well than Overall State Population

The Mexican-origin community in Hawaiʻi represents a small but growing population in this multi-ethnic state, rising 165 percent since 1990, according to a new report by the Migration Policy Institute, an independent think tank in Washington, DC that analyzes immigration trends and policy in the U.S. and internationally. The report released today presents a unique demographic, socioeconomic and cultural profile of a Mexican-origin population that in many ways has different outcomes than Mexican-origin counterparts in the continental United States.

Click to read the full report

Click to read the full report

While Hawaiʻi’s Mexican-origin residents (foreign born as well as the U.S.-born of Mexican ancestry) have higher employment, reduced poverty, higher levels of English proficiency and educational attainment, and lower incidences of unauthorized status than their Mexican-origin counterparts on the U.S. continent, they fare less well than the overall population of Hawaiʻi across a range of socioeconomic metrics, researchers for MPI and the Ethnic Studies Department in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi found.

Hawai‘i Governor Neil Abercrombie said: “This report, the result of collaboration between the D.C.-based Migration Policy Institute and the University of Hawaii, provides insightful data on our Mexican-origin community and experiences as ‘newcomer’ residents to the Aloha State. In Hawaii, we recognize that our diversity defines rather than divides us. These findings will inform our decisions in addressing the needs of this valued and growing facet of our community as its members contribute to our island culture and economy.”

The report, Newcomers to the Aloha State: Challenges and Prospects for Mexicans in Hawaiʻi, draws on a qualitative survey, in-depth interviews and analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data to examine the state’s growing population of residents of Mexican origin, which stood at approximately 38,700 based on analysis of 2009-2011 American Community Survey data.

Mexican-origin civilian workers work primarily in Hawaiʻi’s tourism-related industries and construction — the two industries that felt the impact of the 2007-2009 recession earlier and harder, leading to higher unemployment than the state average. Residents of Mexican origin are also more likely than the overall population to be in poor or low-income households, and are less likely to live in their own homes.

“Our research suggests that many Mexicans, especially those who are immigrants, occupy the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder, along with three other traditionally marginalized groups: Filipinos, Native Hawaiians and Micronesians,” said report co-author Monisha Das Gupta, associate professor of ethnic studies and women’s studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. “Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs through October 15, is a timely moment to examine the state’s largest newcomer Latino population.”

Among the report’s findings:

  • The majority of Mexican-origin residents in Hawaiʻi have lawful U.S. immigration status, but many feel targeted by immigration enforcement authorities. About nine in ten Mexican-origin residents in Hawaiʻi are U.S. citizens by birth or naturalization. Only a small number are unauthorized, representing 10 percent of the state’s estimated 40,000 unauthorized immigrants. By contrast, in the continental United States, 58 percent of the estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants are from Mexico. Despite the high proportion of U.S.-born and legally present Mexicans in Hawaiʻi and small share of the unauthorized population, interviews indicated members of this community feel they have been disproportionately targeted by immigration and local law enforcement officers for detention and deportation.
  • Mexican-origin residents are dispersed within and across the islands, with two-thirds living on Oʻahu. On Maui and the Big Island, certain towns are associated with Mexican residents even as they live in ethnically mixed neighborhoods.
  • Mexican residents’ mobility from island to island is restricted because of the expense of air travel and, in the case of the unauthorized population, due to the risk of immigration enforcement-related surveillance at airports. These barriers to air travel make it difficult for Mexican residents of other islands to access critical services offered only in Honolulu, including health care and immigration-related services.

“Mexicans are not well incorporated into mainstream society in terms of accessing resources and services,” said report co-author Jeanne Batalova, a senior policy analyst at MPI. “Further, the Mexican community is divided along generational, legal status and class lines and does not necessarily share common goals and identity. Collectively, this can make it more challenging for the Mexican community to represent itself politically and culturally.”

The report makes a number of recommendations, including that the state address the integration prospects of this steadily growing community by expanding language access for Spanish speakers so they can interface meaningfully with schools, state and local government and courts, and law enforcement; plan for age-appropriate services for young children and elderly residents of Mexican origin, particularly those with limited English proficiency; and work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to ensure its enforcement is directed at its priority targets.

Although Hawaiʻi has a long history of incorporating ethnic groups and immigrants, the report concludes that with respect to newcomer Mexican-origin residents, “Neither the group’s needs nor prospects have been noticed and addressed at a policy level.”

Read the report at: www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/MexicansinHawaii.pdf.