Hawaii Senate Committee Advances Bills Protecting the Environment

The Hawaii State Senate’s Committee on Ways and Means (WAM) today advanced legislation to protect and preserve the state’s natural resources. The committee passed bills that, if made law, would have immediate and far-reaching effects on beach shorelines, invasive species control, conservation, sustainability, climate change and disaster planning efforts.

Some members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee at Pohoiki on the Big Island.

Some members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee at Pohoiki on the Big Island.

“We must continually work together to maintain our unique island home for the health and pleasure of our families and, also, the stability of our economy through the visitor industry,” said Sen. David Ige, WAM Committee chairman. “These bills passed today touch on many facets of the environment both with immediate actions and long-term planning, and will require more meetings and consensus for success.”

The environment protection measures passed today include:

SB2742 – Establishes the Pacific-Asia Institute for Resilience and Sustainability to provide the structure and opportunity for a new generation of leaders to emerge who possess the ability to address Hawaii and the Pacific-Asia region’s risks from natural and man-made hazards and to develop solutions for sustainable economic growth within the region’s unique physical and cultural diversity.

SB3035 – Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and appropriates funds for planning for and construction for the realignment of Kamehameha Highway mauka of Laniakea beach on the North Shore of Oahu.

SB3036 – Appropriates funds to the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program to create a North Shore beach management plan for the North Shore of Oahu stretching from Sunset beach to Waimea Bay.

The Senate WAM Committee last week advanced two joint majority package bills that support efforts to address invasive species and climate change. The measures are:

SB2343 – Appropriates funds to the Hawaii Invasive Species Council for invasive species prevention, control, outreach, research, and planning.

SB2344 – Addresses climate change adaptation by establishing the interagency sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation committee under the Department of Land and Natural Resources to create a sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation report that addresses sea level rise impacts statewide to 2050. Tasks the Office of Planning with establishing and implementing strategic climate adaptation plans and policy recommendations using the sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation report as a framework for addressing other statewide climate impacts identified under Act 286, Session Laws of Hawaii 2012. Appropriates funds for staffing and resources.

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UH Hilo Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Moving to San Francisco State University

San Francisco State University announced today the appointment of Luoluo Hong as vice president for student affairs. Hong currently serves as vice chancellor for student affairs and associate professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, a position she has held since 2008. Her previous positions include dean of student affairs for the West Campus of Arizona State University and dean of students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She will begin her tenure at SF State on May 1.

Photo of Luoluo Hong, just appointed vice president for student affairs

Luoluo Hong

“I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Hong to SF State. Her passion for student success and well-being, her commitment to fostering a collaborative environment and her infectious, enthusiastic love of higher education make her the ideal person to join my leadership team and to serve as the University’s senior student affairs officer,” said President Leslie E. Wong.

“I cannot sufficiently express how honored I am to be joining President Wong’s leadership team and to be serving the students at SF State,” Hong said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for me on both a personal and professional level at this point in my life. The vision, mission and forward trajectory for SF State is truly inspiring and exciting, and I cannot wait to get started in my new role.”

Hong will succeed Jo Volkert, who has served as interim vice president for student affairs and enrollment management since fall 2012.  “I am grateful to Dr. Volkert for her leadership in furthering the activities of the division. She represents SF State’s best commitment to student success in so many ways,” Wong said.

As the University’s vice president for student affairs, Hong will manage a budget of approximately $60 million and will lead a team responsible for a broad portfolio of student support services and related programs, which currently includes: student outreach and incoming student programs; residential life; career development; student life; services to students and employees with disabilities; student conduct and ethical development; student health and psychological counseling; student leadership and multicultural  development; student recreation and fitness; admissions, records and enrollment management; financial aid; university police; emergency preparedness; parking and transportation services; and the vice president’s management office.

Hong has a proven record of leadership, demonstrated by various successful initiatives that have leveraged partnerships between academic affairs and student affairs to further student success. At the University of Hawaii, Hong worked with faculty and staff to design and implement a guaranteed academic scheduling system for first-year students. She instituted an intrusive advising program aimed at identifying students in distress and then working to ensure their progress and well-being. She has worked to establish clear articulation pathways so that students from community colleges could achieve bachelor’s degrees. She has also developed and implemented a comprehensive summer bridge program for first-generation Hawaii Island students that included math and writing instruction and improved participants’ retention rates. While at UH Hilo, she also oversaw the completion of three major construction projects: a state-of-the art campus recreation facility, a 300-bed suite-style residence hall and a one-stop student services center.

In addition to her administrative leadership roles, Hong is also an accomplished teacher and scholar. She has developed a record of scholarly activity including numerous publications, particularly in the areas of violence prevention, public health and social justice.

Hong earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Amherst College, a master’s degree in public health from Yale University and a Ph.D. in educational leadership and research from Louisiana State University–Baton Rouge.

Hawaiian Telcom Introduces Enhanced Internet Speeds

Fueled by its expanding fiber network, Hawaiian Telcom has introduced Hawaii’s fastest internet, featuring speeds of up to 500 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload.

Hawaii TelcomBeginning 2 March, O’ahu consumers will be able to sign up for broadband speed tiers of 100, 300 and 500 Mbps, with higher speeds available for businesses. Hawaiian Telcom internet packages come with a wireless networking gateway, comprehensive internet security software and access to local 24/7 technical support.

Hawaiian Telcom president and CEO, Eric K. Yeaman said the company has invested USD 125 million in its new fiber network and systems and plans to expand network reach in the future.

Four Rescued From Disabled Boat 12 Miles Off Oahu

Four adults are safe after being rescued from a disabled boat approximately 12 miles northeast of Kaneohe Bay Monday afternoon.

Four adults are safe after being rescued from a disabled Boston Whaler approximately 12 miles northeast of Kaneohe Bay Monday afternoon.

Four adults are safe after being rescued from a disabled Boston Whaler approximately 12 miles northeast of Kaneohe Bay Monday afternoon.

At 3:14 p.m., Coast Guard Sector Honolulu was patched in to a call from the Honolulu Fire Department notifying watchstanders that a 19-foot Boston Whaler suffered an unknown engine casualty and was adrift. An individual aboard the vessel was able to contact the fire department via cell phone.

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew was dispatched from Coast Guard Station Honolulu at 3:36 p.m.

The boat crew arrived on scene at 5:15 p.m. and took the vessel in tow. The RB-M crew towed the vessel into Kaneohe Bay where it was met by a Good Samaritan who safely moored the disabled vessel at Hee’ia Kea Pier.

The vessel was boarded and issued a warning for expired flares. The Coast Guard advises all mariners to ensure they have all necessary safety equipment aboard and that it is in working condition. This includes flares, lifejackets and a working VHF radio. Cell phones are often unreliable off-shore and only provide one-on-one communication versus one-to-many with a VHF radio.

Mariners who want to ensure their vessel is safe and compliant with current regulations can request a free safety check by visiting www.vesselsafetycheck.org. For more information on boating safety, visit www.uscgboating.org.

For more information, contact the 14th Coast Guard District public affairs office at (808) 535-3230.

Another Wreck at Our Favorite Intersection

Andrews Gymnasium Reopens

Repairs to Hilo’s Joseph G. Andrews Gymnasium have been completed, allowing the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation to reopen the popular facility located within Waiākeawaena Park.

Photo of gym interior showing repaired and refurbished floor  Photo credit: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

Photo of gym interior showing repaired and refurbished floor
Photo credit: Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation

Old wax buildup was removed from the gym’s floor, which was then sanded and coated with a new layer of wax to protect the playing surface. New lines were painted to accommodate different sports, termite damage repaired and replacement basketball backboards installed. The Department of the Parks and Recreation’s Maintenance staff performed all of the work in-house.

Located at 33 West Kawailani Street, Andrews Gymnasium is open each Monday through Saturday, excluding holidays. Gym programs include the following youth activities:

  • Basketball Shooting Clinic (ages 9-14) Wednesdays 4 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Volleyball (ages 7-14) Thursdays 3:30 to 5 p.m.
  • Craft clubs (ages 5-12) Thursdays 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Speed and Agility workshops (ages 7-14) Saturdays 2 to 4 p.m.

For more information, please contact Maurice Janado at 959-9047.

Bill to Make Hawaiian Bobtail Squid Hawaii’s Official State Microbe to be Heard Tomorrow

The Hawaiian Bobtail Squid – a two inch, glow in the dark creature – will have its moment in the spotlight tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday, February 25. The Senate’s Committee on Technology and the Arts (TEC) will hear a bill designating vibrio fischeri as Hawaii’s official microbe.

image credit: guardian.co.uk

Image credit: guardian.co.uk

Vibrio fischeri is a bacteria which lives in a symbiotic relationship with the Hawaiian bobtail squid, giving the animal the power to produce bioluminescence, or light from a living organism. The squid is endemic to Hawaii and hunts at night on reef flats. However, moonlight casts a shadow onto the sea floor, which alerts predators to the squid’s presence. To counter this effect, the Hawaiian bobtail squid cultures vibrio fischeri in a special light-emitting organ, which allows it to become stealthy by projecting light that minimizes the dark shadow of its body.

Image credit: kahikai.org

Image credit: kahikai.org

The study of this chemical reaction has numerous medical and practical applications, such as testing for toxic compounds in water.

“We anticipate having a State Microbe will ignite interest in science for our kids. What could be more appropriate than a bacteria that creates a glowing blue squid that thrives just off our shores,” says Sen. Glenn Wakai, Chairman of the TEC Committee, “With 70% of our planet covered in water, it makes perfect sense to have Hawaii’s microbe tied to the ocean.”

Image credit: news.wisc.edu

Image credit: news.wisc.edu

What:   Hearing on SB 3124, designating a State Microbe

When: 1:15 p.m., Tuesday, February 25

Where: Capitol, room 414

More information on the bill can be found by going to this link: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=3124&year=2014.

Oregon became the first state to have an official microbe.  Lawmakers there designated saccharomyces cerevisiae, also known as “brewer’s yeast” as its state microbe due to its importance to Oregon’s beer and winemaking industries. Wisconsin has attempted to turn lactococcus lactis into its official microbe, in recognition of its role in creating cheese.

Governor Abercrombie Releases $62.4 Million for Education Facilities Statewide

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $62.4 million for capital improvement projects (CIP) that will improve various Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) facilities across the state, while stimulating the economy and generating local jobs.

“These funds will help to create a better learning environment for our keiki and provide teachers with the tools they need to succeed,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “In the process, the funds will create work for hundreds in Hawaii.”

Kau High School

Allotment of funds for the following projects, identified by state legislators, has been approved by the Governor:

$36,365,000 – Improving and Maintaining Facilities and Infrastructure – Planning, design, construction and equipment to improve and maintain facilities and infrastructure for various schools statewide. DOE’s estimated backlog for repair and maintenance is at $265 million. These projects include general school building improvements, electrical upgrades and playground equipment repair, along with maintenance and other school repairs and renovations. Some of these funds will go to the overall repair project at the damaged Farrington High Auditorium.

$7,554,000 – Program Support – Planning, land, design, construction and equipment for program support at various schools statewide, including new/temporary facilities, improvements to existing facilities, ground and site improvements, and for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and gender equity. ADA projects include McKinley High, Baldwin High, Kohala Elementary and Honokaa High. Gender equity projects include Keaau High, Waiakea High and Waipahu High softball fields and Kahuku High and Intermediate girls’ athletic locker room. Funds will also complete construction of a locker room project at Lahainaluna High and complete design of a locker room at Konawaena Middle School.

$7,500,000 – Equity – Design and construction for equality projects to improve instructional spaces such as science labs, special education classroom renovations and classrooms on a statewide basis for classroom/learning environment parity. Equity projects also include energy improvements relating to heat abatement in classrooms.

$5,800,000 – Capacity – Plans, land, design, construction and equipment for capacity projects at various schools statewide nearing their enrollment capacity or are short of classroom space.

$5,200,000 – Staff Costs and Project Positions – Fiscal Year 2014 costs related to wages and fringe benefits for 60 project-funded permanent staff. The positions will provide the technical and clerical support necessary for the DOE to adequately address their CIP needs by moving its CIP project-funded staff to the vacant Liliuokalani Elementary in the near future.

State and County Team-Up to Tackle Hazardous Albizia Trees

The State’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and the County of Hawai’i’s Department of Public Works are teaming up February 26-28 to remove invasive albizia trees along Upper Puna Road.

Albizia

State and County crews are working in coordination with the Big Island Invasive Species Committee’s (BIISC) Albizia Demonstration Project in Keau’ohana State Forest Reserve and Black Sands Subdivision, of lower Puna. Albizia trees within 100 ft. of the road, endangering motorists, will be cut down, then chipped and returned to the forest or, for larger trees, removed. BIISC will follow-up by applying herbicide to stumps and nonhazardous trees using methods developed with the University of Hawai’i extension program and the US Forest Service.

By teaming up, crews will be able to cover both County and State right-of-ways and synchronize their efforts. “This project demonstrates how all stakeholders, government, private sector, and residents, can work together to manage the albizia problem in more cost effective ways,” said BIISC Manager Springer Kaye.

The State and County tree work will be done from 8:00am-2:00pm, starting from the intersection of Upper Puna Road and Highway 130, extending 0.3 miles along Upper Puna Road. Motorists are advised to expect intermittent delays on Upper Puna Road during these times and to take the alternate route of One`Ele`Ele Road to access Black Sands Subdivision.

According to Ecologist Flint Hughes, with the U.S. Forest Service, ”Albizia, or Falcataria moluccana, is a statewide ecological and public safety problem. Albizia’s rapid and pervasive growth destroys native forests by shading out native plants and improving conditions other invasive flora, such as strawberry guava. On top of that, the tree’s brittle branches and shallow roots easily break in wind or rain, then fall on homes, roads, and power lines.”

The 500-acre Albizia Demonstration Project area in Puna includes trees overhanging homes and roads, as well as in native lowland forest. Kaye explains “Stakeholders identified this area of Puna as a case study to showcase the wide range of issues in albizia control, develop best management practices, and empower communities to limit the spread of these menacing trees in their own neighborhoods.”

Since December, BIISC has held three Community Training Workshops, where the public learned how to safely and effectively use herbicide to kill albizia trees not threatening infrastructure. The next Community Training Workshops will be held during the Hawai’i Invasive Species Awareness Week, from 9:00am-2:00pm, at various locations in East Hawai’i.

Albizia Clean-ups

For more information on Community Training Workshops, please contact BIISC at 933-3340.

 

Department of Health Cites Philips Services Hawaii, LTD for Used-Oil Permit Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has filed a notice of violation with a penalty fine totaling $19,500 against Philip Services Hawaii, LTD (PSH). DOH discovered two alleged violations of the state’s used-oil rules during a routine inspection on Aug. 19 and 20, 2013. PSH operates at two sites located at 91-410 and 91-416 Komohana St. in Kapolei on Oahu. The company has been at these sites since July 2001 and its operations include used-oil transport, processing and recycling.

Department of Health

PSH faces one count of significantly altering operating procedures without notifying DOH. These procedures are considered to be a part of the permit and any changes to the plans must be approved by DOH. The standard operating procedures that were in use at the time of the inspection were not consistent with the approved version. The altered procedures resulted in substantial changes in the used-oil processing steps that had not been approved by DOH. The altered procedures changed the system from a recycling system into a disposal system.

Instead of recovering used oil and waste fuels from the oily water for reuse, the altered system would absorb those components for disposal. Potentially, hazardous wastes could have been sent for recycling and been disposed of instead. The second count resulted from PSH failing to update their emergency coordinator list. PSH may request a hearing within 20 days to contest the violation notice and penalty.

To protect Hawaii from pollutants that endanger people and the environment, the DOH regulates the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous wastes.

The department’s Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch promotes pollution prevention and waste minimization, develops partnerships with waste generators and the regulated community, guides the rehabilitation of contaminated lands, and aggressively enforces environmental laws.waii

Crafts and Entertainment at Annual Spring Fundraiser at Hulihe’e Palace

The picturesque, seaside grounds of Hulihe‘e Palace will be the location of the annual spring fundraiser, Day at Hulihe‘e, on Saturday, Mar. 29. An 8:30 a.m. traditional Hawaiian blessing kicks off the 9 a.m.-4 p.m. event, which is hosted by palace caretakers the Daughters of Hawai‘i and the Calabash Cousins.

Hula Dancers dance behind Hulihe'e Palace. (Photo Fern Gavalek)

Hula Dancers dance behind Hulihe’e Palace. (Photo Fern Gavalek)

Browse among tented arts and crafts booths, a tempting bake sale featuring Aunty Nona’s scrumptious peach cake and the ever-popular Classy Tutu’s Attic. Choose a fresh flower lei made on site by palace volunteers. The Kuakini Hawaiian Civic Club will offer ono food and local hula halau will provide cultural entertainment.

New this year are cultural demonstrations including pa‘i ‘ai (poi pounding) and ‘upena (fish net making). Prize drawings throughout the day will be featured, including the chance to win a king-sized Hawaiian quilt for a $5 donation.

Palace admission will be complimentary all day, although donations will be accepted.

Hulihe'e Palace

Hulihe’e Palace

Day at Hulihe‘e remembers Hawai‘i’s Citizen Prince who was born in March: Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole (1871-1922.) Hawai‘i observes an annual state holiday to commemorate Prince Kuhio’s dedication toward serving his people; it’s Wednesday, Mar. 26 in 2014.

Beginning in 1902, Kuhio served as a delegate to the U.S. Congress for 10 terms, was the driving force behind the development of Pearl Harbor and instituted the Hawaiian Homestead Commission. A monument at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park credits Prince Kuhio for founding the park in 1916.

Hulihe‘e Palace is open for docent-guided and self-guided tours. Museum hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday—with the exception of the palace open 1-4 p.m. the Monday following the monthly Kokua Kailua Village stroll.  Palace admission for a self-guided tour is $8 for adults, $6 for kama‘aina, military and seniors, and $1 for keiki 18 years and under. Docent-guided tours are available upon request. For details, contact the palace at 329-1877, the palace office at 329-9555 or visit www.daughtersofhawaii.org. The gift shop, open 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays- Saturdays, can be reached by phoning 329-6558.

Caretakers of Hulihe‘e Palace are the Daughters of Hawai‘i and the Calabash Cousins. The Daughters was founded in 1903 and opens membership to any woman who is directly descended from a person who lived in Hawai‘i prior to 1880. Helping the Daughters in its efforts since 1986 are the Calabash Cousins; membership is available to all.

Canadian Bobsledders to Come to Big Island of Hawaii to Hunt Pigs

According to this article, a couple members of the Canadian Bobsled, Justin Kripps and Jesse Lumsden, will be coming to the Big Island of Hawaii after their disappointing showing in the SOCHI Olympics:

Canada's pilot Justin Kripps, Jesse Lumsden, Cody Sorensen and Ben Coakwell are assisted as their sled flips during the four-man bobsleigh event at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, at the Sanki Sliding Center in Rosa Khutor February 22, 2014. (REUTERS)

Canada’s pilot Justin Kripps, Jesse Lumsden, Cody Sorensen and Ben Coakwell are assisted as their sled flips during the four-man bobsleigh event at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, at the Sanki Sliding Center in Rosa Khutor February 22, 2014. (REUTERS)

The hunt for a bobsled medal for Canada has ended, and now a different kind of hunt begins.

“Me and Jesse (Lumsden) are going to go boar-hunting in Hawaii,” said Canada 3 pilot Justin Kripps, who was born in Na’alehu, Hawaii. “They have a real boar problem there and we are going to take care of it.”

Might as well take care of the boar problem in Hawaii…

Capital Improvement Funds Released for Kohala Elementary and Honoka’a High School

Senator Malama Solomon, District 4 – Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona, today commended the release of $7.73 million for various capital improvement projects (CIP) supporting student education in Hawaii.

Sen. Malama Solomon

Sen. Malama Solomon

Portions of these funds will go toward work in District 4, including:

  • Kohala Elementary, for American with Disabilities Act (ADA) projects, portion of $7,554,000
  • Kohala Elementary, for a special education portable, $80,000
  • Honoka‘a High School, for science lab upgrades, $100,000 for design work

“Supporting schools in my district is one of my main priorities as a lawmaker,” said Solomon. “The Legislature secured the funds for these very important projects last session and I’m glad to see the monies released so that work can get started. It’s imperative that we continue to provide students, teachers and staff with the resources for a favorable learning environment.”

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces the Creation of Agency’s First-Ever Office of Digital Engagement

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced today the creation of the agency’s first-ever Office of Digital Engagement. This new office – housed within the Office of Public Affairs – serves as the frontline for digital communication with consumers, businesses, and other key Department stakeholders.

Commerce Digital Engagement

“I am proud to announce the launch of the first-ever Office of Digital Engagement within the Department of Commerce. The Office of Digital Engagement is an important component of our ‘Open for Business Agenda’ and will help us engage in a two-way, 21st Century dialogue with America’s business community,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. “By using the power of digital media, the Department of Commerce and our bureaus are working together to ensure that American businesses have access to more agency information and resources that can help them grow and hire.”

To further amplify the “Open for Business Agenda” and the priorities of the Department of Commerce, Secretary Pritzker has used LinkedIn, Vine, Youtube and other platforms and hosted a number of digital events including Twitter and Facebook chats that attracted interest from a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including small business owners, exporters and venture capitalists. The Office of Digital Engagement also launched Secretary Pritzker’s Instagram account last month, making her the first-ever Cabinet official to have an Instagram account.

The Office of Digital Engagement is directed by Director of Digital Strategy, Mike Kruger, and Deputy Director, Rand Ruggieri.  The office is part of the Department of Commerce Office of Public Affairs, run by former technology communications executive Jim Hock.  The team also includes Quintin Haynes in the Office of the Secretary and a Digital Engagement Council made up of representatives from the following Commerce bureaus:

•             Ryan Poole, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)

•             Lisa Wolfisch, U.S. Census Bureau

•             Chris Higginbotham, International Trade Administration (ITA)

•             Tami Holzman, Economic Development Administration (EDA)

•             Lucas Hitt, Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA)

•             Alicia Sowah, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

•             Mark Esser, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

•             David Miller, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

•             Juliana Gruenwald, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)

•             Paul Rosenthal, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

Follow Secretary Pritzker on:

•             Twitter – www.twitter.com/PennyPritzker (@pennypritzker)

•             Instagram – www.instagram.com/PennyPritzker

Find out more about the Department of Commerce at:

•             www.commerce.gov/blog

•             www.twitter.com/CommerceGov

•             http://www.linkedin.com/company/u.s.-department-of-commerce

•             https://www.facebook.com/Commercegov

•             https://www.youtube.com/user/CommerceNews

Hawaiian Family AfFair to Honor Na Pua No`eau Alumni

Na Pua No`eau, the Center for Gifted and Talented Native Hawaiian Children, is calling on all of its former students to come and be recognized at this year’s 22nd Annual Hawaiian Family AfFair.

UH Hilo Moniker

The free, public event will be held on the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo campus on Saturday, March 1, from 9- 3 p.m. This year’s theme is “E Ola Koa: Living long and strong like a koa tree in the forest.”

Activities include various exhibit booths, free health screenings, a keiki fitness center, arts and crafts booths, make and take workshops, entertainment, food booths, and more.

More than 16,000 Native Hawaiian children from across the State and around the globe have participated in a Na Pua No`eau activity since its first event was held in 1990. The Center provides educational enrichment that guides students to learn through the Hawaiian culture.

“The best way to describe the program’s impact on students is that the students create a healthy life and lifestyle for themselves, their family and their community,” said Executive Director Dr. David Sing. “The Center helps them define and understand themselves as Hawaiians and to build a future that acknowledges and embraces who they are in the evolving world.”

Sing said the Center wants to celebrate the lives its alumni have made for themselves, their families and community. Approximately 18-percent of the native Hawaiian students currently attending UH Hilo and 17-percent attending Hawaiʻi Community College are products of the Na Pua No`eau pipeline.

For more information, call 974-7678.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Update

Kahaualeʻa 2 flow still active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

View of the flow front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, looking west. The flow front has focused into a new lobe that is slowly migrating through thick forest, triggering scattered forest fires. The smoke from these fires seems to be “seeding” the cloud above it. The active flow front was 7.4 km (4.6 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Mauna Loa can be seen in the distance.

Top: Looking northeast from Puʻu ʻŌʻō, the smoke coming from forest fires at the front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow can be seen in the distance. In the foreground, thick fume is coming from the Kahaualeʻa 2 lava tube, which is supplying lava to the flow front. Bottom: View of the northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. This small cone is also the vent area for the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. The cone has recently hosted a small lava pond, but today this seemed to be crusted over. See the time-lapse sequences below to see recent activity at this cone.

Thermal image of the front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. Yellow and white areas depict active breakouts, while red areas are cooler, inactive portions of the flow. Over the past week a new lobe has pushed east, between lobes that were active in November and January. The tip of this new lobe was 7.4 km (4.6 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Compare this view to the February 20 map (see link above).

Spattering and gas pistoning in the northeast cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō

This selection of images shows activity at the northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō over the past two weeks. The lava pond was undergoing gas pistoning, a gradual buildup and release of gas in the lava pond that is often associated with spattering and lava level changes. For scale, the lava pond is about 10 m (30 feet) across.

More images of the northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō, taken with a time-lapse camera.

This Quicktime movie shows a time-lapse sequence of activity at the northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater on February 9-10. Rapid fluctuations in the height of the lava pond are caused by gas pistoning, which is the gradual buildup and release of gas in the pond. Mauna Kea is visible in the upper right portion of the frame. The sequence was captured by an inexpensive time-lapse camera, whose plastic housing was warped by the extreme heat.

Department of Education Convenes Working Group to Review “Pono Choices” – A Sexual Health Education Curriculum

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) yesterday convened a working group to review Pono Choices, a sexual health education curriculum taught in some middle schools as part of a research study by the University of Hawaii’s (UH) Center on Disability Studies.

DOE ReleaseOn Feb. 4, at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Hawaii State Board of Education (BOE), a discussion of sexual health education curriculum drew additional comments regarding Pono Choices. The BOE received more than 100 written testimonies expressing concerns over the UH pilot curriculum. As a result, the DOE convened a working group comprised of diverse stakeholders to review Pono Choices and make a recommendation on whether it meets statutory requirements and applicable BOE policies regarding sexual health education curriculum.

The group, chaired by DOE Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe, includes:

  • Darrin Araki, executive director, Hawaii Pastors Roundtable
  • Dr. Robert Bidwell, associate clinical professor of pediatrics and director of adolescent medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine, UH Manoa
  • Karen Ginoza, representative of He’e Coalition and Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE)
  • Kimberly Kepner-Sybounmy, parent representative
  • Noella Kong, state adolescent health coordinator, Hawaii State Department of Health
  • Justin Mew, principal of Kaiser High School; former principal of Niu Valley Middle School and former science teacher
  • Donna Rodenhurst, health teacher, King Intermediate School
  • Kumu Hina Wong-Kalu, director of culture, Halau Lokahi Public Charter School

The working group meets again on Feb. 27 and welcomes public input through noon on Feb. 26 via email at hipublicschools@gmail.com. All feedback will be logged and shared with group members. Individuals should not resubmit testimony already provided to the BOE.

The working group will spend as much time as necessary to conduct a thorough review of Pono Choices prior to issuing a public report.

In November, the DOE temporarily placed Pono Choices on hold to address concerns about whether the curriculum was aligned with health education state law and policy. A subsequent UH review of its copyrighted curriculum concluded Pono Choices met the standards.

Senator Malama Solomon on the Hawaii Business News “Geothermal Article”

Senator Malama Solomon responded to the following Hawaii Business News article:

Click to read article

Click to read article

Your report on geothermal energy (HB November 2013, “Geothermal is a Red-Hot Topic”) failed to make some very important points about why geothermal would improve the quality of life for all of us in Hawaii.

• Geothermal is used worldwide and can be applied to Hawaii. According to the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, there are several regions worldwide with geothermal and geologic conditions very similar to Hawaii, such as Iceland and New Zealand. Both nations benefit from electrical rates of up to 12 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to Hawaii’s average of 32 cents/kwh. DLNR also points out that these two countries, plus Japan and Indonesia, have seen decades of safe and economical use of geothermal energy.

• Safeguards are already in place. “The State of Hawaii has developed a thorough series of procedures to review, regulate and oversee the development of geothermal resources,” says DLNR Chair William Aila. “This includes the drilling of all geothermal wells, the protection of underground sources of drinking water, safe well construction techniques, and seismic monitoring.”

Also, geothermal development projects are required by Chapter 343, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to develop an Environmental Impact Statement, which includes public disclosure of potential impacts and proposed mitigations measures that are subject to public hearings and a public comment period before any project can proceed forward. “These processes are already in place ensure the protection of the environment, natural and cultural resources, and the public’s health and safety,” Alia says.

• Geothermal has Hawaiian support. “Hawaiians have supported and continue to support geothermal development on Hawaii Island,” says Mililani Trask of the Innovations Development Group. She points out geothermal development has received support by the largest Hawaiian organization, the Hawaiian Civic Clubs, Hawaiian energy producers and land owners, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, who has also invested in a Hawaiian company seeking to develop the resource on Hawaii Island.

We have a great opportunity to responsibly develop geothermal to provide clean, renewable and firm power to our homes and businesses at a lower cost.

Sen. Malama Solomon

Senate District 4 (Hilo, Hāmākua, Waimea, Kohala, Waikoloa and Kona)

Sam Choy’s Poke Contest Coming Up

Put your braggin’ in the bowl and enter your favorite poke recipe to win cash and prizes at the third Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest Sunday, March 16. Public tasting is 12:30 p.m. at the Convention Center at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

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Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest is part of Keauhou Resort’s annual Kamehameha III celebration March 14-17 that commemorates the Keauhou-born king, Lani Kauikeaouli.

Other festivities include:

• Free Puana Ke Iki Lecture by Lily Dudoit, “Keauhou-Where the Current Continues to Renew Itself,” 5:30-7 p.m. March 14 at the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay.

*Lani Kauikeaouli Canoe Race, 7 a.m. March 15 at Keauhou Bay, hosted by Keauhou Canoe Club

• Free 14th annual Kamehameha III “Lani Kauikeaouli” Concert, 4:30-10 p.m. March 15 on the lawn at Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay. Emcees Skylark Rossetti and Kimo Kahoano with Punahele, Mailani, Nina Kealliwahamana, Marlene Sai, Sonny Lim, Ladies of Na Lei O Kaholoku, Mark Yamanaka and Kapena.

• Free Daughters of Hawai‘i Tribute, 10 a.m. March 17 at Keauhou Bay with Royal Order of Kamehameha and 200 Kamehameha Schools Ipukukui students.

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Poke contest fun is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and includes Hawai’i Island Marketplace, a “Poke Throw Down,” a celebrity “Poke Chop” cookoff, guest speakers, entertainment by Royal Hawaii Band Kona and others, cultural demonstrations and delicious poke tasting.

Contest competition is in five categories: traditional, cooked, poke with Aloha Shoyu soy sauce, non-seafood and a new category—poke with Hamakua Mushrooms. Suisan Company Ltd. will donate 15 pounds of fresh filet ahi to the first 50 entrants using fish. It contestant wants additional ahi, it will be offered at wholesale price. Suisan also offers seafood to contestants at a wholesale price. Contest entry deadline is March 10; find forms at www.SamChoysKeauhouPokeContest.org.

Entry fee is $15 for amateurs and $30 for professionals—culinary students can participate for free. High schoolers can enter in a new High School Division and college culinary students are welcome to again vie in the non-professional category.

Chefs from Facebook’s campus restaurants on the Mainland are bringing a contingent to again vie in the professional division. Last year’s overall contest winner was ‘Umeke’s of Kailua-Kona.

Public admission to all contest activities is $5 (limit of five poke tastes) or $10 for an event bag and unlimited tastes until gone.  Keiki under 12 are free). Proceeds benefit the $150,000 Equip the Kitchens Campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui campus. Last year’s contest donated $5,000 to the effort.

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A free trolley will operate from Keauhou Shopping Center (pickup near Longs Drugs) 4-10:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.

Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest is part of Keauhou Resort’s annual Kamehameha III celebration March 14-17 that commemorates the Keauhou-born king, Lani Kauikeaouli. The contest is sponsored by Kamehameha Schools, Aloha Shoyu Company, Suisan Company Ltd., Hawaiian Springs, Hamakua Mushrooms, West Hawaii Today, the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, Fresh Island Fish, Coca Cola, BMW of Hawaii, Tanioka’s Seafood & Catering, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Roberts Hawaii, Bacardi, Sun Dried Specialties, Kapa Radio and Young’s Market Co.

Grassroot Institute Issue Brief Looks at the Minimum Wage Debate

A recent Issue Brief from the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii considers the effects of an increase in the minimum wage, concluding that the raise in the minimum wage currently before the Hawaii Legislature will not advance the goal of improving the plight of Hawaii’s working poor.

Click to read brief

Click to read brief

The report, entitled Four Things You Should Know About the Minimum Wage Debate in Hawaii, identifies four key areas of concern that are at odds with the objectives of the legislation. They are:

  • Raising the minimum wage will benefit less than 4%of low-income working families.
  • The current proposed minimum wage raise increases the costs of low-skilled labor by 39%.
  • Raising the minimum wage will not lift working families out of poverty.
  • Raising the minimum wage is expected to reduce teenage employment.

Though the intent of a minimum wage increase is to lift Hawaii’s working families out of poverty, the brief concludes that such legislation will do little to achieve this objective while placing a substantial burden on Hawaii’s small businesses and employers. In effect, states the brief author, “[a]n increase in the minimum wage would accomplish no more than to increase benefits for a handful of low-income working families at the expense of teenage workers and small business owners. The one thing that the minimum wage proposal does accomplish, however, is to effectively divert the political narrative away from the real causes of poverty and inequality in Hawaii.”

“The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii continues to advocate for free market solutions to our state’s economic problems,” states Dr. Keli’i Akina, President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. “Unfortunately, the proposed raise in the minimum wage is nothing more than a band-aid solution that will burden Hawaii’s businesses without effectively helping our state’s working families. What we really need is a reduction in the obstacles that the state places on business and entrepreneurship in Hawaii, as a vibrant and growing economy is the best way to improve the situation of low-wage workers.”

You can read or download this brief in its entirety at: http://new.grassrootinstitute.org/2014/02/four-things-you-should-know-about-the-minimum-wage-debate-in-hawaii/.