Thursday, September 30, 2010

Focus on Nursing - Next on Kukui Connection

Rep. Marilyn Lee, a nurse herself, talks to Gail Tiwanak, RN and director of the Hawaii State Center for Nursing on the next edition of Kukui Connection. The show airs on Sunday, October 3, 2010, on Olelo, Channel 54 at 4:00 p.m. It repeats on 10/17 and 10/31.

Gail Tiwanak practiced nursing for 30 years starting as a staff nurse at Queens Hospital. She retired from Queens in 2004, but due to her vast knowledge and experience, and her love for the nursing profession, she took on the job at the Hawaii State Center for Nursing in April 2009. The center was created by the legislature in 2003 for the purpose of exploring workforce issues related to nursing, particularly recruitment and retention, and quality of care. The center is located at the University of Hawaii but serves the entire nursing community throughout the state.

The average age of nurses in Hawaii is 45 years and a great number are part of the baby boomer generation and expected to retire in the next 20 years. Gail discusses nursing education, as well as the expanded scope for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses who will be key in the state's healthcare reform given the need for more primary care providers.

Gail would like to hear from nurses and the general public on the state of nursing in Hawaii and what the center can do to help improve conditions. More information can be found on the center's website here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

$1.5 million released for Kealakehe Community Center

Rep. Denny Coffman today praised the release of $1.526 million in design and planning funds to Laiopua 2020, an organization under the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), to build a new community center and medical clinic in Kealakehe.

“This project was my number one capital improvement priority during the 2010 legislative session,” said Rep. Coffman (District 6 –North Kona, Keauhou, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau.) “In addition to creating construction jobs and permanent employment, the Laiopua Community Center will provide core government service facilities in a key location of the Kailua-Kona community. I want to thank my legislative colleagues for including this project in the CIP budget during a year when we face many fiscal challenges, and applaud the Governor for releasing the funds.”

The site is next door to the 1,500-student Kealakehe High School and nearby to the 800-student Kealakehe Intermediate School and the 1,000-student Kealakehe Elementary School. On the immediate north side of this 26-acre community complex, is over 325 Native Hawaiian homes with another 900 homes in the planning stage. On the immediate south side of the community complex is the planned Kamakana Villages Project; a 2,300-unit affordable housing development being planned by Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation (HHFDC) and developed by Forest City.

According to DHHL, groundbreaking is anticipated to take place in July 2011. The community center is currently planned to include a computer lab and learning center, audio-visual center, after school and summer enrichment programs, culinary program and community kitchen, and space for community meetings and gatherings. In addition, the community center will include space for social service programs related to existing agencies.

“When completed, this project will provide childcare, healthcare, Hawaiian cultural, recreation and family support services,” continued Rep. Coffman. “The Big Island team of legislators believe that this is a model community project in the right place at the right time.”

Rep. Blake Oshiro honored by JACL

The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) will award its Distinguished Service Award to Rep. Blake Oshiro at the Annual General Membership Meeting and Luncheon this coming Saturday, October 2, 2010. The Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii will also be a recipient of the award. More info can be found here.

Lawmakers talk art, music and the future of Hawaii at Fresh Café

Representatives Tom Brower and Marcus Oshiro joined Neil Abercrombie, Colleen Hanabusa, Kim Coco Iwamoto, Jon Osorio, Mari Matsuda, and Ramsay Taum for We Value Hawai‘i, an evening of art, politics and music at Fresh Café on Queen Street last Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010. The event was hosted by Creative Modern Activism Hawaii (CMA HI) to address the big issues that Hawaii faces, including public education, the future of the arts, tourism and the environment. CMA HI was inspired to sponsor the event because of the recently released book The Value of Hawai'i, edited by Craig Howes and Jonathan Kay Kamakawiwo'ole Osorio.

Photo (l-r):  Rep. Marcus Oshiro, Rep. Tom Brower, Kim Coco Iwamoto and Senate President Colleen Hanabusa answer questions from the public about the future of Hawai'i during a forum at Fresh Café.

A panel discussion titled "Creating Hawai'i: The Future for Arts and Artists" was held from 6-8 p.m. The public joined scholars, activists, and politicians for a discussion of the future of creative arts in Hawai'i, with a focus on the problems many young artists face in our economy and a second focus on solutions. The questions the panelists considered: What do we value about the arts in Hawai'i, and what are we willing to do to protect what we value? What do we value about Hawai‘i?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Free training workshops in Wai'anae for non-profits

Rep. Karen Awana invites community-based and faith-based organizations on the Leeward Coast to attend free training workshops sponsored by the State of Hawaii Community Based Economic Development Program (CBED). Awana has been working with the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourist on many initiatives, including these workshops, to support business and community building on the Wai’anae Coast.

The workshops include training in proposal writing, fundraising, board governance and responsibilities, accounting and internal controls, staff development, and organizational assessment. The training will be provided by the Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations (HANO), volunteer Legal Services Hawaii (VLSH), and the Hawaii Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development (HACBED).

When: October 1 and 2, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Registration/ Meet and Greet from 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.)
Where: Makaha Resort and Golf Club 84-626 Makaha Valley Rd. Wai’anae, Hawaii 96792
To Register:
Phone/Fax: (808) 587-2772/ (808) 586-2589

Rep. Jerry Chang at Tianjin's International Sister Cities Conference

State Representative Jerry Chang represented Hawaii this month at the 1st Round Table Conference of China's Tianjin International Sister Cities Conference.

On September 13, Rep. Chang addressed the Mayor Huang Xingguo, Chairman Xing Yanmin and other attendees. Here is an excerpt:

In 2002, I introduced - and the Hawaii State Legislature approved - legislation that established a sister-state relationship between Hawaii and Tianjin. The legislation was successful because of supportive testimony from people like Ms. Ivy Xu and many others.

Hawaii and Tianjin share many common goals and values. We both work towards achieving our economic and educational objectives in this new century. Because of this, the people of Hawaii desire to form a mutually beneficial relationship and to share our knowledge and experiences in order to better assist each other in reaching our goals.

We in Hawaii are also striving to diversify our economy by expanding into environmentally clean high-technology industries. This conference is timely in that Hawaii just hosted the 2010 Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo in Honolulu two weeks ago.

This year’s event celebrated Hawaii’s unique natural resources, as well as our state’s progress in embracing clean technologies and collaborative strategies for achieving energy independence. Hawaii has all the necessary components to lead the U. S. and other nations to a secure clean energy economy and sustainable future.

This year’s program had over 130 speakers, including Zhou Fenqi, senior advisor and former director general of the Energy Research Institute of the the National Development and Reform Commission of China. The guest speakers shared their expertise and insight on state, national and international clean technology and policy trends.

It was at this summit that I learned of Tianjin being a prospective first city picked to establish a Low-carbon Model City in an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trial. I congratulate you and look forward to your progress.

I would like to invite you to Hawaii for next year’s 2011 Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit, which will be held in September 2011, to learn of the latest clean technology and policy trends as well as enjoy the beautiful Hawaiian Islands and special Aloha spirit and culture.

I have personally been a frequent visitor to Tianjin. This is my 5th visit here, and I always enjoy your hospitality and friendly people. I am looking forward to meeting with all of you as we participate in the planned activities and discussions to strengthen our friendships as well as work toward a clean energy economy to preserve our precious natural resources.

Rep. Marcus Oshiro - The Value of Hawaii

Rep. Marcus Oshiro (center) with fellow thespians Stu Hirayama (left) and Ryan Sueoka (right) on Opening Night of the the play "Age Sex Location" at Kumu Kahua in the 2005 season.

Rep. Marcus Oshiro will take part in a panel discussion on the Arts in Hawaii this Saturday evening, 9/25/10, 6-8 p.m. at Fresh Cafe, 831 Queen Street.

The panel is part of an on-going series of events called The Value of Hawaii. The events build upon the ideas in the recently published book of the same name, a compilation of essays by local contributors, edited by Craig Howes.

Here is the prompt for the discussion:

Creating Hawaii: The Future for Arts and Artists

Why are the arts important for Hawaii and our shared future? Can a vibrant and supportive arts community exist when the economic focus is placed on tourism? What is the value of creative work in Hawaii, and how can we protect what we value?

Most people know Rep. Marcus Oshiro as the House Finance Chair. Many may also know that he's an avid surfer. But few are aware that he's a practitioner of the arts - an actor who has appeared in numerous plays in local theater. His last play was "Age Sex Location", written by Dennis Carroll, at Kumu Kahua in the Fall of 2005. Here's a link to columnist John Berger's coverage in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Rep. Herkes requests AG opinion on HHSC loan to Alii Health Center

State Representative Robert Herkes has sent a letter to Governor Lingle requesting that the Attorney General review and issue a legal opinion on a case involving the Hawaii Health System Corporation (HHSC) and the Alii Health Center in Kailua-Kona.

At issue is a loan of $2.9 million from Kona Hospital, which is part of the HHSC system, to the Alii Health Center, which is a private, non-profit facility. The Alii Health Center is not part of the Kona Hospital, but is a subsidiary of HHSC and falls under the jurisdiction of the West Hawaii Regional Board (WHRB) of HHSC. Over the past few years, the board has taken action to forgive parts of the loan, now totaling about $1.4 million of the loan. HHSC recently told the Governor that the board will be reviewing the legality of its actions.

“It hardly seems appropriate for the WHRB to investigate its own actions, and then report back to you as to whether or not it has broken the law,” said Rep. Herkes in his letter to Governor Lingle. “It would seem more appropriate to place the task of issuing a legal opinion regarding this matter in the hands of the Attorney General.”

Herkes added that the former chief development officer for the Kona Hospital Foundation (KHF) has been indicted on theft and forgery counts related to her work for the KHF, and suggests that the Attorney General could broaden the scope of the review and examine this issue as well.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rep. Blake Oshiro wins HSBA award

The Hawaii State Bar Association named Rep. Blake Oshiro as one of the recipients of the Champion for Social Justice Award 2010.

According to the HSBA, this new award "recognizes an attorney for courageous legal work in the face of public controversy that helps promote the interests of justice and preserves the integrity of the judiciary.

The other 2010 Champion for Social Justice Award recipients are retired justice Steven Levinson and William S. Richardson School of Law Professor Linda Krieger. More information on the HSBA awards can be found here.

Palliative Care - Next on Kukui Connection

Joy Yadao - Director of Advocacy and Business Development for St. Francis Healthcare.
Rep. Marilyn Lee welcomes Joy Yadao on the next edition of Kukui Connection. The topic is palliative care.This is a fascinating show about the options you and your family should be aware of when it comes to end of life decisions and pain management.
Yadao was formerly the director of hospice and palliative care for St. Francis. She talks about the fact that many people associate "end of life" options with "death with dignity" or physician assisted suicide, and that there is so much more that the medical profession can do for the patient at this difficult time. Often, when patients are in so much pain, it ends their quality of life and they think of suicide. There are things that can be done to help via hospice care and palliative care. The word palliative means comfort.
This series airs on Olelo, Channel 54, Sundays at 4:00 p.m. The show featuring Joy Yadao airs on the following Sundays - 9/26, 10/10 and 10/24.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rep Takumi on Mike Buck Show

Turn your radio on to the Mike Buck Show on KHVH Talk Radio tomorrow afternoon, drive time. Rep. Roy Takumi will be on at 5 p.m. Thursday to talk about education and related issues, including education bills at the legislature. KHVH can be found at 830 on the AM dial.

Coming Up

Information Briefings scheduled for Thursday, September 16, 2010

Topic: Teen Pregnancy
Committee on Human Services
10:00 a.m.
State Capitol, Room 325

Purpose: To review current state, federal, private policy and programs to prevent teen pregnancy. Under the Department of Human Services, it is estimated that $20 million in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds are used to prevent teen pregnancy. The briefing seeks to identify the role of the state in teen pregnancy prevention efforts.

Keynote Speakers: Forrest Alton, the Director of the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen pregnancy & Judith Clark, Executive Director of the Hawaii Youth Services Network.

Topic: Elder Care
Committee on Human Services
11:30 a.m.
State Capitol, Room 325

Purpose: To review the state's ability to address the needs of the elderly and review the need for changes in policy and public responsibility to adequately address the main issues for the elderly and their caregivers and families.

Consumer protection issues dealing with Hawaii's seniors, such as but not limited to elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation will be topics of discussion. At the conclusion of the briefing, the Chair of the Human Services Committee will summarize the suggested solutions ascertained from this briefing to better address healthcare and services for Hawaii's elderly. The Committee Chair may also identify future legislation aimed at reducing elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.

State Department of Human Services
Adult Protective Services (DHS)
Community Ties of America (DHS)
Honolulu Police Department (HPD)
Dr. Cullen Hayashida, Kapiolani Community College
Ohana Health Plan
Evercare Hawaii
Healthcare Association of Hawaii

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Five-O on the scene

Last night at a special Sunset on the Beach in Waikiki, Governor Linda Lingle declared September Hawaii Five-0 Month. State and city officials and members of CBS television were joined by thousands of fans to premiere the pilot episode of the new television series. Waikiki State Rep. Tom Brower got a chance to talk to Georja Skinner (Hawaii Film Office Administrator) and fellow residents about how the show will portray our state and its culture.

When Rep. Brower was asked what he thought about the red carpet, he lightheartedly replied, "If you’re like me, when you're free styling on the red carpet, you gotta watch your back. To get the picture, you go low, you go high, sometimes you have to get all up in there."

Hawaii Five-0 was originally aired on CBS from September 20, 1968 to April 4, 1980. The show's revival is big business for Hawaii, with anticipated revenues of more than $60 million dollars.

Photo: Scott Caan (Danno) and Rep. Brower (Tommo) share a few words while sitting on a cooler back stage. Thanks to Augie T for taking the picture. (Courtesy of Rep. Brower)

Photos from Rep. Brower: Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park talk to Marissa Yamane (KHON) and an Entertainment Tonight correspondent on the Red Carpet (which was on the sand). (Courtesy of Rep. Brower)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Berg cancels BOE: To Elect or Not to Elect, asks public to attend forum at UH Manoa instead

Rep. Lyla Berg has canceled the panel discussion Board of Education: To Elect or Not to Elect that was scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010 at McKinley High School, and is asking everyone who planned to attend the event to instead attend a forum on the same subject sponsored by the League of Women Voters. Rep. Berg graciously canceled her planned event as the two events were scheduled at the same time.

"Because this issue is extremely important to us all and to the very future of secondary education in Hawai'i., I would ask everyone who was planning to attend my forum to attend the League of Women Voter' event," said Berg.

From a news release from the League of Women Voters - Hawaii: 

The Education Fund of the League of Women Voters will sponsor a forum to discuss the pros cons of the proposed constitutional amendment to change Hawaii's Board of Education member selection from elected to one that is appointed by the governor. The one-hour forum, moderated by Dean Avi Soifer, William S. Richard School of Law will be followed by 15 minutes of questions and answers and a wrap-up.
Forum members include:

• Benjamin Cayetano, former Governor of Hawai`i
• Joan Husted, former HSTA Executive Director
• Randy Roth, UH Law School professor
• Garrett Toguchi, Chair, Hawai`i State Board of Education.

Tuesday, Sept. 14
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
William S. Richard School of Law, Classroom 1.
Parking is available in the parking structure. Enter from Dole Street.
UH campus map at

The event is open to the public and will be taped by ‘Ōlelo, thus will be available for public viewing several times prior to the election on November 2. Please check for any updated information prior to the event.

Celebrity charities helping Hawaii kids

Representative Tom Brower was in Waikiki recently supporting several fundraising events held by one of Hollywood’s hottest charities, Tag the World (TAG). Founded in 2006, the charity reinvigorates local charitable gift-giving through star-studded fundraisers and the sale of fashionable silver “tags” – designed by jeweler Michael Barin – that people can engrave with meaningful dates, initials or words to support their favorite charity. Why the name? TAG poses the question, “If you had the opportunity to change something, what would you change? Tag, you’re it” and offers five global causes you can support: children, cancer, Africa, global green, and animals.

 Photo: At Hawaii News Now to talk about celebrity fund raising event. (Seate) Co-anchor Steve Uyehara and business reporter Howard Dicus, who is Tom's neighbor. (Standing, L to R) Weather anchor Ben Gutierrez, Rep. Tom Brower, TAG founders Hannah Cornett and Robert Parks-Valetta, and Filipino-American actor, Dante Basco.

TAG held a celebrity triathlon and several other events in August to raise money for Kids Hurt Too, a local non-profit organization that helps children who are impacted by death, divorce or placement in foster care. This is the second consecutive year that TAG has come to Hawaii.

Photo: TAG teamed up with Makana for a special "Return to Waikiki" fundraiser/ luau at the International Marketplace. (Bottom, L to R) The Bachelor's Jake Pavelka, TAG founders Robert Parks-Valletta and Hannah Cornett. (Top, L to R) Cynthia Nyross, Rep. Tom Brower and Lance Rae.

Rep. Brower has been working with founders Robert Parks-Valletta and Hannah Cornett since their first meeting last year. The California-based founders have volunteered time, funding, job training, and companionship for Hawaii’s keiki. The group’s community activism sends children the message that people still care about them, which will positively impact them for the rest of their lives.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mizuno recognized by Visayan organization

Representative John Mizuno, who represents the Kalihi area, was recognized for his work as a state lawmaker with a Lapu-Lapu Award from the Congress of Visayan Organizations (COVO) at a dinner and gala held on August 14, 2010.

COVO has brought together Hawaii Visayan organizations since 1985. Its objective is to organize and unify Visayan groups in Hawaii, to perpetuate the Visayan language and cultural traditions, and to assist in the educational, social, and economic advancement of Visayans in the larger Hawaii community.

Healthcare Heroes

The Healthcare Association of Hawaii announced their heroes for 2010. Recipients were honored as those "who have gone above and beyond supporting Hawaii's healthcare system."

Congratulations to Rep. Michael Magaoay who was named Legislator of the Year. A full list of honorees can be found here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Upcoming Community Cleanups

Palolo Valley (Adopt-A-Stream/ Adopt-A-Block) on Saturday, September 11, 2010 at three locations - Pukele Mini Park, 3rd Avenue Bridge, and Mutual Housing. Check in at 8 a.m., Clean up from 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. See flyer for information on how to volunteer and who to contact.

Kaimuki Business Professional Association's Wai'alae Avenue Cleanup Day, Saturday, September 11, 2010, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. See flyer for more information.

Pro-Business Legislators

The September issue of Hawaii Business Magazine is all about "Seeking the Business Vote". One of the stories focuses on the Hawaii State Legislature and a recent survey of business leaders on which legislators are the most business-friendly. Read the story, written by long-time political observer and former Honolulu Advertiser political reporter/editorial page editor Jerry Burris, here.

Three members of the House majority were included in the "frequently named" category: House Speaker Calvin Say, Rep. Bob Herkes, and Speaker Emeritus Joe Souki.

Photo: Hawaii Business Magazine. Speaker Say and Carol Pregill, President of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii

Another story of interest in the same issue is "SmallBiz Guide to Power" - all about using business and trade organizations to participate in the legislative process and to make sure your voice is heard. Most small businesses don't have the time or ability to come down to the legislature to testify and visit lawmakers. These organizations all have government affairs or some sort of government advocacy program through which business owners can work on issues important to them.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

MidWeek Hot Shots

Photo and Story: Midweek

The Hawaii Crop Improvement Association recently honored state House Speaker Calvin Say (center) and state Rep. Clift Tsuji (right), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, with the 2010 BIO Co-Legislators of the Year award. The lawmakers were recognized by the Biotechnology Industry Organization for their leadership and support of the agricultural biotechnology industry in Hawaii. Pictured with them (from left) are Fred Perlak, president, HCIA; Laurie Goodwin, president-elect, HCIA; and Adolph Helm, HCIA.