UH Hilo Ranks No. 2 for Top College/University in Hawai‘i

In a recent study published by WalletHub, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa was ranked the top college and university in Hawai‘i followed by the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Chaminade University of Honolulu.

To help college-bound seniors choose the best schools within their states, WalletHub’s analysts compared nearly 1,000 higher-education institutions in the U.S. based on 26 key measures grouped into seven categories, such as Student Selectivity, Cost & Financing and Career Outcomes. The data set ranges from student-faculty ratio to graduation rate to post-attendance median salary.

The following is a closer look at some of the top schools and how each performed in certain metrics (1=best):

University of Hawaiʻi-Hilo

  • 1st – Admission Rate
  • 1st – Net Cost
  • 2nd – Student-Faculty Ratio
  • 3rd – On-Campus Crime
  • 3rd – Gender & Racial Diversity
  • 3rd – Graduation Rate
  • 3rd – Post-Attendance Median Salary

University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa

  • 2nd – Admission Rate
  • 3rd – Net Cost
  • 2nd – Student-Faculty Ratio
  • 2nd – On-Campus Crime
  • 1st – Gender & Racial Diversity
  • 2nd – Graduation Rate
  • 1st – Post-Attendance Median Salary

Chaminade University of Honolulu

  • 3rd – Admission Rate
  • 2nd – Net Cost
  • 1st – Student-Faculty Ratio
  • 1st – On-Campus Crime
  • 2nd – Gender & Racial Diversity
  • 1st – Graduation Rate
  • 2nd – Post-Attendance Median Salary

Related Links
Best Colleges & Universities Overall
Best Colleges
Best Universities

2018 Hawai‘i ACA Individual Rates Released

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Insurance Division recently released the final decisions for 2018 Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual plan health insurance rates. These rates are expected to affect approximately 34,000 individuals in Hawaiʻi currently purchasing ACA individual plans.

2018 ACA Individual Health Rate Filings:

Company Proposed
Average Rate Change
Final Approved
Average Rate Change
HMSA 27.1% 19.78%
Kaiser 25.2% 24.1%

“Increasing utilization of medical services by a segment of the individual market and the immense uncertainty on the national front regarding the ACA has impacted rates,” Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito said. “The discontinuation of Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) funding and unpredictability over the non-enforcement of the Individual Mandate resulted in rates increasing on average of 10% to 14%.  However, Advanced Premium Tax Credits can help to lower your monthly payment.”

Click to read the full clarification

“It is worth the time to shop and compare plans across the various offerings,” Ito continued. “This year, a Gold plan could be more affordable than a Silver plan. Bronze plans can be as affordable as $5-10 per month depending on your age and income. It’s best to take into consideration more than just monthly premium rates, but also the deductible amounts and out-of-pocket maximums to determine the right plan for your insurance needs.”

The Insurance Division’s approval of rates was made pursuant to the statutory requirement that rates cannot be excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory. All submitted data regarding the rates is closely reviewed by rate and policy analysts and actuaries.

“With the rising costs of the healthcare delivery system, rates must also be set at adequate levels to prevent insolvency and keep competition in the market,” said Ito. “Inadequate rates could result in an insurer failing to meet statutory solvency requirements which would jeopardize policyholders and providers under their plans.”

Consumers are encouraged to review and understand the offered ACA plans during open enrollment at HealthCare.gov. With the halt of CSR funding, this year’s plan options have become increasingly complex. Further clarification on the issues related to the Open Enrollment period of the ACA Individual Market are available here.

HDOT Statement on President Trump’s Motorcade Movements

Due to security protocols, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is not provided advance information regarding the President’s specific travel plans, times and routes. We will release any sharable information with the public as soon as possible. During previous presidential visits, the Secret Service has directed intermittent closures in both directions of the traveled roadway, in addition to closing onramps, overpasses and underpasses on the route.

Temporary Flight Restrictions are also in place.

Publicly available information suggests that presidential motorcade movements may result in delays on the following routes; however, motorists are encouraged to account for extra travel time Friday between 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • 2-3 p.m. Eastbound closures from Pearl Harbor to Waikiki
  • 4-5 p.m. Westbound closures from Waikiki to Pearl Harbor
  • 7-8 p.m. Eastbound closures from Pearl Harbor to Waikiki

HDOT will extend Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) hours to 8 p.m. Friday to assist any motorists in their service area of the H-1 Freeway between Kunia to Ainakoa Avenue, the H-201 Moanalua Freeway, and the H-2 Freeway from the H-1/H-2 interchange to Ka Uka Boulevard. Motorists needing emergency roadside assistance should call 841-HELP (4357). More information on FSP is available at www.fsphawaii.com

As always, we strongly encourage drivers to use the many applications and resources available to check up to the minute traffic conditions. HDOT offers www.GoAkamai.org which is a website with current traffic conditions and incidents on the state freeways, 200 traffic cameras around Oahu, drive times and more. With the free MyGoAkamai feature drivers can receive customized alerts and information pertinent to their specific route, time and day they are on the road. Looking at traffic conditions in advance can help people decide which route is best or if they should adjust the time they start their trip. There are also a variety of other free traffic related applications and services available to help people with their planning. Drivers should feel free to use whichever resource they are comfortable with. People should look up the information on their devices prior to getting behind the wheel of their car. Remember to drive safely and obey traffic laws.

Centennial Observance for Lili‘uokalani, Nov. 11

The public is invited to gather with Royal Orders and societies, cultural practitioners, kānaka, leaders of Ali‘i Trusts and dignitaries at the Queen’s promenade and statue on the grounds of the Hawai‘i State Capitol on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. for Aloha Lili‘u, a centennial observance of the life and legacy of Queen Lili‘uokalani.

Over 100 churches across the state will toll their church bells at 8:30 a.m. in honor of the last reigning monarch in Hawai‘i, replicating the moment of her passing on November 11, 1917. In addition to the bells, there will be 100 conch shell blowers (pū), as well as hula dancers (‘ōlapa), drums (pahu), and chanters (mea oli) from across the islands to pay homage to the Queen.

The program that morning will include pieces written by Queen Lili‘uokalani, performed by Hawaiian musicians Marlene Sai, Manu Boyd, Owana Salazar and the Aloha Lili‘u Choir led by Nola Nahulu.

“A century after her passing, she is still beloved by her people, many of whom have benefitted from her legacy,” said State Senator Kai Kahele, co-organizer of Aloha Lili‘u. “We hope through this observance, we can all be reminded of and emulate her spirit and character of grace, courage, strength and compassion.”

“More than just marking a milestone in history, this event is intended to provide an historical admonition for us today to act with intention which benefits the greater good and encourages the best in all of us,” said Senator Brickwood Galuteria, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs and co-organizer of Aloha Lili‘u. “This also begins a year of discussion and reflection on how the Queen’s legacy continues to impact our lives today and how as a State, we can continue to improve the lives of the people of Hawai‘i.”

For more information on Aloha Lili‘u, please visit www.alohaliliu.org.

Security Zone Set Up for President Trump’s Visit

Coast Guard personnel, federal, state and local law enforcement partners will enforce a security zone in waters off Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, Oahu, Friday and Saturday.

The security zone is necessary to ensure the safety of a distinguished visitor.
The security zone will be in effect from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. Friday Nov. 3, 2017 and from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Saturday Nov. 4, unless canceled earlier by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port Honolulu, Capt. Michael Long.

The Coast Guard is coordinating with the Honolulu Police Department and other federal, state, and county law enforcement agencies to conduct patrols of the area under the direction of the U.S. Secret Service.

The Coast Guard has established a security zone on waters off of Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. To the north of the airport, the security zone includes all waters surrounding Honolulu International Airport within Keehi Lagoon. To the south of the airport, the security zone includes the waters from 21 degrees 18 minutes north latitude and 157 degrees 55.58 minutes west longitude east to Kalihi Channel Buoy number 5 and all waters south to about two mile offshore. This includes anchorages B, C and D.

Under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations 33 CFR 165.33, the law prohibits any unauthorized person or vessel from entering or remaining in this security zone.  Any person entering the zone without the permission of the Coast Guard captain of the port is subject to a penalty of not more than $90,063 for each violation or a criminal penalty resulting in imprisonment of not more than 25 years and a fine of not more than $250,000. Offending vessels may also be seized and held liable for any monetary assessments.

HPUC Expands PV Options for Customers

In a Decision and Order issued last month, the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission approved two new programs that will expand opportunities for customers to install rooftop solar and battery energy storage systems, while clarifying terms of existing programs to provide greater certainty for customers who have already invested in a rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system.

The HPUC approved a new Smart Export program,  which offers a new option for customers installing a rooftop PV system combined with a battery energy storage system. Under Smart Export, a customer’s energy storage system will recharge during the daytime with energy captured from their PV system. The energy storage system will then power their home in the evening with an option to also export electricity back to the grid. If the customer sends power back to the grid during non-daytime hours, they receive a monetary credit on their electricity bill. Under the initial terms, the Smart Export program may accommodate approximately 3,500 to 4,500 customers on Hawai‘i Island, O‘ahu, Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i. Credit rates for electricity sent to the grid during non-daytime hours are 11 cents on Hawai‘i Island, 14.41 cents on Maui, 14.97 cents on O‘ahu,16.64 cents on Moloka‘i and 20.79 cents on Lāna‘i.

  • The HPUC also established “CGS+” or “Controllable CGS” as a successor to the popular Customer Grid Supply (“CGS”) program. Under this new program, CGS+ customers can install a solar PV-only system (no energy storage needed) that exports energy to the electric grid during the daytime, but they will utilize advanced equipment that allows the electric utility to manage power from the CGS+ system. For example, when grid conditions require, the electric utility may reduce CGS+ system output in order to maintain a stable grid. Under the initial terms, the CGS+ program may accommodate approximately 5,000 to 6,000 customers on Hawai‘i Island, O‘ahu, Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i. Credit rates for electricity sent to the grid under this program are 10.55 cents on Hawai‘i Island,10.08 cents on O‘ahu, 12.17 cents on Maui, 16.77 cents on Moloka‘i and 20.80 cents on Lāna‘i.
  • The HPUC grandfathered in existing CGS customers for five years. Customers in the CGS program will continue to receive their current bill credit rate for the next five years.
  • The HPUC will allow existing Net Energy Metering (“NEM”) customers to add to their systems if they meet certain technical requirements – The decision clarifies that existing NEM customers can add “non-export” systems and retain their status in the NEM program.
  • The HPUC will authorize activation of new “advanced inverter” functions in PV and storage systems. Advanced inverters provide support to the electric grid during different types of grid disturbances. Activating these functions in new Smart Export and CGS+ systems will help maintain a stable and reliable grid.

Last month’s decision is the culmination of a comprehensive process that began with proposals submitted by participating parties in the HPUC’s Distributed Energy Resources (“DER”) docket, which were subsequently vetted through numerous technical planning conferences and meetings with stakeholders over the past nine months. The final filings from the participating parties were submitted to the HPUC in late September.

For further information, see the HPUC’s website. The Decision and Order is filed in Docket No. 2014-0192, available to view online on the HPUC’s Document Management System.

Related Links
Fact Sheet
Decision and Order No. 34924


Town Hall Meeting on Healthcare Set for Puna District

Pāhoa Community Center. Big Island Now Photo

The East Hawai‘i Regional Board of Directors of the Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation will hold its annual community meeting on Thursday, Nov. 9, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Pāhoa Community Center.

The Board and Regional Administration will provide an overview of the operations and financial condition of all of the facilities, as well as a view toward the future.

“The East Hawai‘i Regional Board is looking forward to hearing your input and ideas for healthcare in the Puna District,” said Dr. Dan Belcher, Chair of the East Hawai‘i Regional Board of HHSC.

Members of the community are invited to share their perspectives and concerns regarding access to healthcare services.

The East Hawai‘i Regional Board of Directors was created by the Hawai‘i State legislature under Act 290 in 2007.

For more information contact Terry Larson, Regional Board Secretary at 932-3103.

The Pāhoa Community Center is located at 15-3022 Kauhale Street.

Casting Call for Hawaiian Language Version of ‘Moana’

The Walt Disney Studios, in collaboration with the University of Hawaiʻi, is casting for additional roles in a Hawaiian language version of Moana.

Aulii Cravalho (Photo courtesy Disney)

Native Hawaiian Auli‘i Cravalho, the Annie Award-winning star of Walt Disney Animation Studios Moana, reprises her role as the character of the hit feature for the Hawaiian language version.

Casting for additional roles within the Hawaiian language version, which is being created by the University of Hawai‘i in collaboration with The Walt Disney Studios, will begin in the next few weeks.

“I am so deeply proud of my Hawaiian roots,” Cravalho said. “To perform the role of Moana, acting and singing in the Hawaiian language, is so deeply humbling and exciting. I can’t wait to work with the talented language experts who will help bring this version to life.”

“We are so thrilled that we have the opportunity to make a Hawaiian version of the film, especially with the incredible Auli‘i,” Moana Producer Osnat Shurer said. “To now make a Hawaiian language version, after recently collaborating on Tahitian and Te Reo Māori language versions, goes beyond any dreams we had for the film’s impact within communities that deeply inspired the movie.”

The University of Hawaiʻi’s Academy for Creative Media System is funding and coordinating this collaborative project with the goal of sharing the film for educational purposes in Hawai‘i and beyond.

“We could not be more excited to offer this unique educational opportunity for students and faculty from multiple UH campuses to work directly with the professionals at Disney Animation and Hawaiʻi’s own Auliʻi Cravalho in bringing Moana to Hawaiʻi in the Hawaiian language,” said Chris Lee, founder and director of the Academy for Creative Media System. “This extraordinary project would not be possible without collaboration between the various programs at UH.”

Managed by the Creative Media program at the University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu, faculty members from across the University of Hawaiʻi System will collaborate on behalf of the project.

Dr. Puakea Nogelmeier, professor of Hawaiian Language and executive director of Awaiaulu, a nonprofit organization for Hawaiian-language translation training, will oversee a team of Awaiaulu’s translators; Hailiʻōpua Baker, professor of Hawaiian Theatre at UH-Mānoa’s Theatre department will serve as acting director; Ethnomusicologist Aaron J. Salā will serve the project as music director; the film will be re-recorded in Hawaiian at Honolulu Community College’s MELE Studio and engineered by Jon Ross; collections specialist and producer for UHWO’s ‘Uluʻulu, Hawaiʻi’s moving image archive Heather Giugni and Sharla Hanaoka, director of Creative Media at UHWO, are producers of the Hawaiian language-version of Moana, in cooperation with Rick Dempsey, SVP Creative, for Disney Character Voices International.

“There are many great things to highlight about this collaboration,” UH West Oʻahu Chancellor Maenette Benham said. “The movie can be used as a language learning tool, it builds positive motivation and pride for all children and youth to know their cultural moʻolelo, and it speaks to the brilliant collaboration of our faculty and staff across the UH System.”

The Hawaiian version of Moana is anticipated to be distributed via the Hawai‘i State DOE to schools throughout the state as a Hawaiian language educational tool.

Casting will be overseen by Rachel Sutton. Fluent Hawaiian language speakers and singers should submit a photo, cell number and a link to a Vimeo or YouTube video of them singing/chanting in Hawaiian to [email protected]. Deadline for submissions is Nov. 17, 2017.

For more information go online.