News Briefs | April 2020

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ASSUMING OUR POLITICAL KULEANA

OHA Community Outreach Specialist Kumu Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu (center) with “Assuming Our Political Kuleana” workshop participants. OHA hosted the workshop in late February in Kapolei, O’ahu. The workshop combined learning oli and how to submit legislative testimony to impact your community. Visit www.oha.org/vote for updates on future workshops. – Photo: Kaukaohu Wailani

Affordable Rentals Coming to Kapolei

A recent development agreement with KG Kapolei Parkway LLC has made way for the development of an affordable rental housing project in Kapolei. The three-building complex will offer 404 affordable studios, and one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom rental units to be occupied by households earning 60% or below the area median income (AMI) for Honolulu. At least 21 of the units will be reserved for residents earning 30% or less than the AMI. The project will include nearly 650 parking stalls, recreation rooms, laundry facilities, outdoor parks and recreation areas.

Kapena Recognized

The House of Representatives honored the local band, Kapena, during its regular session Friday, March 13 for the group’s Lifetime of Achievement in Contemporary Hawaiian Music. Representative James Kunane Tokioka introduced a House Resolution to honor the group. In the resolution Tokioka said the House recognizes Kapena for their profound impact on island music. The band, founded by Kelly “Boy” De Lima, Timo Tatofi and Tiva Tatofi in 1985, has won many Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards over the years including Album of the Year, Group of the Year and Music Video of the Year in 2018. Members of the De Lima ‘ohana were on hand to receive the award.

New Hawai‘i Wood Products Directory

The Hawai‘i Forest Industry Association (HFIA) is leading the development of a Hawai‘i Wood Utilization Team (HWUT) website, which features a Wood Products Directory. HFIA is encouraging all buyers and sellers of wood products and services to create a profile listing. Creating a profile is free and takes only a few minutes. Anyone interested in being listed or consumers looking for supplies or services are encouraged to log onto www.hawaiiwoodproducts.com. HFIA is a nonprofit corporation founded by and for people committed to managing healthy and productive forests. The Directory will connect buyers and sellers of Hawai‘i’s wood products and services. The HWUT website was launched in 2019 and to date, the online directory includes 225 vendors.

Surf Studies at Chaminade Summer Institute

Chaminade University’s Summer Institute 2020 will shine a spotlight on the emerging academic field of Surf Studies with two special courses that will provide students with the opportunity to participate in building the community of experience dedicated to the study of surfing and surf culture. The first course is called Surf Studies in Hawai‘i. Participants will survey the Native Hawaiian origins of surfing, compare surf culture in Hawai‘i to elsewhere in the world, analyze the economic, cultural and other impacts of surfing, contextualize media representations of surfing and surfers, and, of course, enjoy great surfing nearby. Participants in the Institute can earn three college credits, but it is open to anyone 21 years or older who wants to take part in the emerging Surf Studies community. The course will start on July 6, 2020 and the cost to participate is $2,000. In addition, Chaminade is offering a Hawai‘i Surf Studies Symposium. This one-day event will offer a venue for a shared academic and creative enterprise related to current research in Surf Studies as an academic field. The Symposium will take place on August 1, 2020 and the cost to participate is $250. For additional information or to register please visit www.chaminade.edu.

Maui County Public Works Cited

The Maui County Department of Public Works was found to have violated state law by failing to conduct an environmental review for a streetlights project that threatens harm to Maui’s imperiled seabirds and sea turtles. The February ruling comes one year after Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund and the Conservation Council for Hawai‘i, represented by Earthjustice, sued to block the replacement of approximately 4,800 streetlight fixtures across the county with new light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures that emit high levels of short-wavelength blue-white light, which increases the risk of seabird and sea turtle disorientation and death.

The court ruled that the county violated the Hawai‘i Environmental Policy Act (HEPA) by signing a contract committing $1.9 million toward the streetlights project without first considering the environmental impacts, and by exempting the project from HEPA review after installations began. Before the county can continue with the project, it must complete the public environmental review process mandated by HEPA, beginning with an environmental assessment. Later this year the court is expected to address the citizen groups’ request for a court-order mandating the installation of filters to reduce blue light on the 947 LED streetlights that were illegally installed without any environmental review.

Ten New State-Funded Preschools Opening in 2020

The legislature has appropriated funding to open ten new preschools on three islands in time for the 2020-2021 school year. The new preschools are the result of a partnership with the Executive Office on Early Learning (EOEL) and the DOE.

The new preschools will be located at these public elementary schools: ‘Aiea, Hale‘iwa, Nānāikapono, Palolo, Wai‘anae and Waimānalo (O‘ahu); Chiefess Kapi‘olani, Hilo Union and Hōnaunau (Hawai‘i); and Pukalani on Maui. The addition of these ten preschools brings to 36 the total of public pre-kindergarten programs statewide.

The schools were selected via a competitive application process that considered community need (percentage of at-risk and underserved children in the population), the availability of other early learning programs in the vicinity, space availability on campus, and the principal’s commitment to implementing a high-quality pre-kindergarten program.

Details for families to apply for the 2020-21 school year will be announced in the spring. For more information visit: earlylearning.hawaii.gov/eoel-public-prekindergarten-program.

Beware of Census Scams

As the federal government launches the 2020 Census, some people may be susceptible to phony Census correspondence or telephone calls, according to the results of a survey released today by the AARP Fraud Watch Network. The Census presents a new opportunity for criminals who impersonate government officials and AARP’s survey shows that many consumers may be at risk. Invitations to respond to the Census were mailed to U.S. households in March. Responses to the Census questions may be submitted online or via mail or telephone. By May, Census workers will begin visiting or contacting households that have not yet responded.

Everyone needs to be aware that the Census does not ask for or require any of the following information: Social Security Numbers, Bank information or Credit Card Information. There is no cost to participate in the Census. Anyone who is contacted by an alleged Census worker requesting this type of personal information should immediately discontinue the conversation (e.g., hang up the phone or shut the door) and report the incident by contacting the U.S. Census Regional Office for your state, or the U.S. Census National Processing Center at: www.census.gov/about/npc.html

Nearly half of U.S. adults reported that they have been targeted by an imposter scam, according to an AARP survey. During 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received 647,000 reports of imposter scams, more than any other type of fraud. For assistance in recognizing potential scams, see the tip sheet from the AARP Fraud Watch Network at: www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/helpline/?migration=rdrct.