Hamakua Becomes First Site of Rural Outreach Initiative Providing Direct Access to Government and Community Resources

Media Release:

The Hawai’i Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) today launched a new effort to provide residents of Hawai’i’s most rural areas with direct access to government and community resources.  The initiative’s first site is located in Honoka’a, within the Hamakua Coast, where services will be provided at the North Hawai’i Education & Research Center (NHERC). The Rural Outreach Services initiative is a partnership between federal, state, county governments, and private non-profit agencies.

“We are here to serve all people of Hawai’i,” Governor Neil Abercrombie said. “We’re making it easier for those who live in remote communities to receive the services they expect by bringing together government agencies, community groups, nonprofits and businesses.”

Hamakua residents will receive services from 38 agencies on a rotating basis.  The wide range of services include among other issues -job training, health care, housing, and agriculture.

“Rural Outreach Services is an initiative that will turn lives around,” said Rep. Mark Nakashima, a member of the initiative’s coordinating committee, who also sits on the advisory board for NHERC. “Because of the long distances that people need to travel on the Big Island, many residents have not been getting the services they need, whether it is job-related, housing, or even health care.”

The Rural Outreach Services initiative is a public-private partnership of agencies supported by the DLIR Workforce Development Division, University of Hawai’i – Hilo’s NHERC, Hamakua Partners in Eldercare, Hawai’i County’s Kapulena Lands project, and the Department of Education’s East and West Hawai’i Community School for Adults.

“We are creating an opportunity to better serve the rural communities of North Hawai’i, which will be a model for other rural areas across the state,” said DLIR Director Dwight Takamine, also a member of the coordinating committee for Rural Outreach Services. “This is a truly community-driven effort to address barriers to services by empowering rural communities.”

Services will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis, with no appointments necessary.

During the month of July, one agency will be available at the NHERC on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Agency availability will increase beginning August. For more information and a schedule of upcoming services, workshops and conferences, contact the North Hawai’i Education and Research Center at 775-8890.  A calendar of events is posted at: http://goo.gl/fS9T3.

The first workshop on entrepreneurial opportunities will take place at NHERC on July 27, 2011. It is being provided by Hawai’i County’s Department of Research & Development and the Small Business Development Center West Hawai’i and will include one-on-one consultations on-site.

The following agencies are participants in the Rural Outreach Services initiative in Honoka’a:

Arc of Hilo

Arc of Kona

Catholic Charities

Center for Agricultural Success

County of Hawai’i—Aging & Disability Resource Center

County of Hawai’i—Coordinated Services for the Elderly

County of Hawai’i—Office of Housing & Community Development

County of Hawai’i—Human Resources

County of Hawai’i—Research & Development

Department of Defense (Hawai‘i), Office of Veterans Services

Department of Education, Hilo & Kona Community School for Adults,

Department of Labor & Industrial Relations—Disability Compensation

Division, Hawai‘i District Office, Unemployment Insurance Division, Workforce Development Division, Wage Standards Division, Occupational Safety & Health Division, Veteran Employment & Training Service

Department of Human Services, Vocational Rehabilitation Division

Hawai’i Center for Independent Living

Hawai’i Community College, Office of Continuing Education & Training

Hawai’i County Economic Opportunity Council

Hawai’i Island Beacon Community

Hawai’i Disability Rights Center

Hawai’i First Federal Credit Union

Hawai’i Home Ownership Center

Hawai’i Island Adult Care, Inc.

Hawai’i Island Workforce & Economic Development Ohana

Hawai’i Small Business Development Center

Hope Services of Hawai’i

Five Mountains Hawai’i

North Hawai’i Drug Free Coalition

University of Hawai’i at Hilo, North Hawai’i Education & Research Center

Services for Seniors

UH – Hilo, College of Pharmacy

Unites Stated Department of Veterans Affairs

Workforce Solutions

Selection Process for Vacant Hawaii State Senate Seat, District 1

From the Hawaii County Democrats Website:


On December 6, 2010, Senator Dwight Takamine resigned his position as Hawaii State Senator from Senate District 1. Hawaii State Law requires the political party of the outgoing office holder to select and forward three names to the Governor from which he selects the person to fill the vacancy.

All members of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, who have been members of the Party for at least six months and reside in Senate District 1, are eligible to apply to be considered for the position.

Senate Seat Selection Meeting

The Senate Seat Selection meeting is set for Sunday, December 19, 2010, 1:00-5:00 p.m., at Laupahoehoe High School band room.

Criteria to participate in this meeting is set forth in the Constitution of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Section 12B, which states, “The respective officers of the Precinct Clubs and District Councils affected shall select the candidates if the vacancy is for an office representing a State Senate District.”

At the meeting, applicants for the Senate Seat vacancy will have an opportunity to discuss their qualifications with the selection body.

At the conclusion of the meeting, secret balloting will be conducted as follows:

  • There will be three rounds of balloting, one round for each of the three names to be submitted to the Governor for consideration.
  • For each round of balloting, each precinct will caucus and decide, from the field of applicants, on one applicant’s name they want to put forward for that round of balloting.

Please note that the ad hoc State Senate Seat Selection Planning Committee, which was charged with developing this current selection process, has decided that each District Chair will caucus with his or her own precinct; there will be no “super delegate” balloting status for District Chairs and District Council members.

Final Selection

The names of the three top vote getters will be forwarded to the Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, who will in turn forward those names on to the Governor for consideration. The Governor will make the final selection.


Kenneth Goodenow Cover Letter
Kenneth Goodenow Resume

Donald Ikeda Cover Letter
Donald Ikeda Resume

Lorraine R. Inouye Cover Letter and Resume

Robert “Bob” Marx Cover Letter
Robert “Bob” Marx Resume

Mark Nakashima Cover Letter and Resume

Malama Solomon Resume

Abercrombie Nominates State Sen. Russell Kokubun as Chair of the Department of Agriculture

Governor Elect Neil Abercrombie nominated 5 more folks to his cabinet today.

Director nominees include:

  • Bruce Coppa as director of the Department of Accounting and General Services.
  • Keali’i Lopez, Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
  • Fred Pablo, director of the Department of Taxation
  • Sunshine Topping as Director of Human Resources Development
  • State Sen. Russell Kokubun as chair of the Department of Agriculture

I have to wonder who Abercrombie will elect to replace Kokubun in the State Senate as Abercrombie, as the Governor, has the power to do that.  This is the second Big Island Senator that has been selected to join the Governor Elects cabinet as last week it was announced that State Senator Takamine was selected to his cabinet as well.

I fired off the following email to Lorraine Inouye a few days ago and I have not yet received a response and my email has not bounced so I’m wondering about the silence in the response to this email?

Aloha Lorraine,

Hope your Thanksgiving was a good one as usual this year.

I have a question and many folks have been tossing your name out there in speculation of Takamine joining Abercrombies cabinet.

If Governor Abercrombie asked you to fill State Senate District 1 would you be willing to take on that leadership role at this time of your life?…

I think I know of a few folks that would like to take Kokubun’s as well as Takamine’s former positions in the Senate.

Remembering Katsu Goto – Historic Plantation Hero to be Honored Saturday, October 23 in Honokaa, Hilo

The Katsu Goto Memorial Service Committee will be hosting two events on the Big Island commemorating the life of Katsu Goto, a “first boat” Japanese plantation worker-turned successful businessman, tragically killed in Honokaa, in the late 19th Century.

Katsu Goto Memorial Service
Saturday, October 23, 2010, 11:00 a.m.
Honokaa Hongwanji Mission, 45-5016 Plumeria Street, Honokaa

“A Walk with Katsu Goto”
Saturday, October 23, 2010, 3:30 p.m.
Hilo Public Library, 300 Waianuenue Avenue, Hilo, Hawaii

The Memorial Service will mark the 125th anniversary of the arrival of Katsu Goto to Hawaii on February. 8, 1885, aboard the “City of Tokio,” the first of 26 shiploads of “Kanyaku Imin,” government contract laborers. Goto was one of tens of thousands of men and women who left behind family, friends and their homeland for these islands in the middle of the Pacific to seek their fortunes.  Assigned to work on Ookala Plantation along the Hamakua Coast, Goto fulfilled his 3-year contract and opened a successful general store in Honokaa town.

Because of his leadership skills, character, and his knowledge of English, Goto became a liaison between the Japanese laborers and plantation management, facilitating mediation, serving as an interpreter and advocating for improved working conditions. Goto’s Japanese-Hawaii immigrant experience is one of hardship, success, injustice, and ultimate tragedy, and is a cultural legacy for all of us.

Attending the Memorial Service will be descendents of the late Katsu Goto from Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan, Mr. Kiichi Kaya and Mrs. Toyoko Saeki and their spouses.

“A Walk with Katsu Goto” will be a presentation and reading by Patsy Iwasaki, author of the recently released graphic novel, “Hamakua Hero: A True Plantation Story.”  Both Mr. Kiichi Kaya and Mrs. Toyoko Saeki will be present and part of the presentation at the Hilo Public Library.

The public is welcome to attend the Katsu Goto Memorial Service and “A Walk with Katsu Goto” presentation and reading.  There is no charge.

The Katsu Goto Memorial Service Committee is comprised of Hawaii State Senator Dwight Takamine, Hawaii State Representative Mark Nakashima, Miles Okamura of the Peace Committee and Honokaa Hongwanji, Patsy Iwasaki of the University of Hawaii, Hilo Campus and author of the graphic novel on Katsu Goto, “Hamakua Hero: A True Plantation Story” and Wayne Miyao of the Hiroshima-Hawaii Sister State Committee.  For more information, contact Patsy Iwasaki (808) 640-0683, piwasaki@hawaii.edu.